Ladies’ Singles qualifying for the Wimbledon will be held from Tuesday to Thursday at The Bank of England Sports Centre at Roehampton. The draw hasn’t been made yet, but who are some of the players on the entry list that you should keep an eye on? These five women have experienced success on grass before and they should be ready to fight for another main draw appearance at this year’s Championships.
Five Women to Watch in Wimbledon Qualifying
After three years of inactivity, Tsvetana Pironkova came back to tennis at last year’s US Open and instantly did damage, throwing out Garbine Muguruza before losing to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. The Bulgarian has been playing a more packed schedule this year, but so far without a statement run like that. This could be a great opportunity though as Wimbledon was always Pironkova’s favorite Slam. The 33-year-old is a former semifinalist of the event and owns grass-court wins over players like Venus Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska.
Her unusual, varied game works great on this surface and her forehand slice can provide fantastic rhythm disruptions. Pironkova’s naturally low-skidding shots are even more dangerous here and she has a wonderful set of tools to get power hitters out of their comfort zone. The Bulgarian’s health is under a slight question mark though, following a semifinal retirement to Arina Rodionova at ITF Nottingham.
The aforementioned conqueror of Pironkova (via retirement) at Nottingham owns something that very few women in the draw have–experience on the surface. With 80 matches on grass in her professional career and two successful Wimbledon qualifying campaigns in the past, Rodionova will feel much more at home than most of her opponents who’ll be slowly adjusting to it. The Australian turned around a really weak season at Nottingham and with newfound confidence, she might be among the most dangerous players in Roehampton.
Another player that performed admirably at Roehampton in the past is the 23-year-old Romanian. Both her previous Wimbledon qualifying campaigns have been successful and while she never got past the first-round, the draw gods certainly weren’t kind to her. In 2019, she took on Julia Goerges, while the year before she was able to force Agnieszka Radwanska to 7-5 in the decider. Her powerful game is naturally well suited for this surface and while her only grass-court warm-up ended in a rather unexpected loss to Cristina Bucsa, you can’t write off a player who’s done so well at this venue in the past.
Back in 2016, Ana Konjuh made headlines by taking the former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska to a very tight deciding set in the second round of the Championships. The young Croat displayed ruthless, attacking tennis and until she sprained her ankle stepping on a ball, there was no way to predict who was going to come out the victor of that clash. Being unlucky has been the story of Konjuh’s career and it’s also the very reason a player of this class is even playing Grand Slam qualifying at this point.
Konjuh made the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2017 and when playing well, she’s a threat to anyone. This season finally has her playing a full schedule after three years of being almost inactive, and the 23-year-old has already made a WTA final at Belgrade. Her grass warm-up in Berlin ended with a second-round loss to Liudmila Samsonova – what might have looked like an upset at the time, now feels completely different after the Russian ended up taking the title and receiving a main draw wild card for Wimbledon for her run.
Beatriz Haddad Maia
Suspended mid-way 2019 for doping abuse, the former World No. 57 made a return to tennis at the ITF level last year, completely dominating a series of events in Portugal. The 25-year-old has already earned eight lower-tier titles since her comeback, winning 65 of her last 77 matches. She’s earned her right to return to the big stage, and Wimbledon qualifying will be her first tour-level event since the Championships two years ago.
In her short history at Wimbledon, she managed to qualify once and took out Garbine Muguruza in a stunning opening-round upset. Dominance on the ITF World Tennis Tour doesn’t necessarily mean that the Brazilian will find her footing at this level instantly. The rise of the level of competition will be extremely steep but this campaign should finally give us an indication of where Haddad Maia is with her game at the moment.
Make sure to also check out our players to watch in the men’s qualifying draw.
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