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Can anyone challenge Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2015?

After just two days, Wimbledon 2015 has already shown that it could be a tournament to remember. We have had upsets, close shaves and blistering heat so far in what promises to be an enthralling two weeks. The expectation of the home crowd has been quietly met with Andy Murray and Heather Watson both progressing past the first round, along with Aljaz Bedene and now British number four, James Ward. Whilst the victory for Murray was expected, the performance of Heather Watson was the only instance of a Brit beating a player ranked higher than them and will no doubt give her confidence to beat Daniela Hantuchova in round two.

Should Watson manage to beat Hantuchova, it is highly likely that her third round opponent would be Serena Williams, the player that everyone wants to avoid for as long as possible. With seeded players like Halep, Suarez Navarro and Bouchard all falling at the very first hurdle, is there anyone that can challenge the great Serena Williams?

Petra Kvitova – As world number two and the current Wimbledon champion, Kvitova is the obvious contender. Kvitova last played Serena Williams in May 2015 in Madrid where she won in straight sets and went on to win the tournament. Having said that, it has been an up and down year for Kvitova. She has lost twice to Timea Bacsinszky and three times to Carla Suarez Navarro and although she has won two titles, she has only played one top ten player in 2015, Serena Williams. Despite that, the fact that she has twice won Wimbledon cannot be ignored. Kvitova clearly enjoys playing these courts and a 6-1 6-0 win in the first round over Kiki Bertens show that she will not give up her title without a fight.

Angelique Kerber – This may be a surprise to many but Kerber should be considered a genuine contender at Wimbledon 2015. Although she has never reached a Grand Slam final, she has reached the semi final of both Wimbledon and the U.S Open and the German world number 10 has enjoyed a very good 2015 so far. Kerber warmed up nicely for Wimbledon by winning the WTA Birmingham event beating fellow German star Sabine Lisicki and Karolina Pliskova on her way to the title. In addition to her Birmingham victory, she has also won two other WTA titles already in 2015. Perhaps most impressively was her triumph at WTA Stuttgart where she managed to defeat Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Ekaterina Makarova, three top ten players all in the same tournament. At 27 years old and with her current form, Kerber must see 2015 as her best chance of reaching a Grand Slam final. Lets not forget, it was Kerber who knocked out Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 2014 and after winning her first round match 6-0 6-0 this year, she should be everyone’s dark horse.

Lucie Safarova – The 2015 French Open runner up will be hoping to go one better at Wimbledon 2015. After losing the first set in round one to Alison Riske, it looked like an upset may be on the cards, but Safarova dug in and showed why she is ranked number 6 in the world by coming through in three sets. Safarova has been consistently disappointing at Wimbledon with the exception of last year where she reached the semi finals. Since then there has been a real step change in her Grand Slam performances that seem to show that she has now figured out how to compete when the world is watching.

In recent years the Australian Open and Wimbledon have proved to be hard to predict with both having three different champions in the last three years. Serena Williams has not won Wimbledon since 2012 and yet somehow it seems difficult to imagine anyone but her winning here in 2015. Serena would of course hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time should she be victorious and the determination that comes along with that may be too much to resist. However, the three women mentioned in this article, along with the likes of Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki will all be out to stop her and that sets up a very exciting two weeks.



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