Ahead of Wimbledon, the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, five Last Word On Tennis writers –Vithun Illankovan, Anurag Sahay, Damian Kust, Andrew Watson and Jakub Bobro – made their Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles predictions. We will also have a separate roundtable for the men’s singles.
Champion – Who will win the 2021 Wimbledon Championships?
Vithun:  Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
This is the second consecutive Grand Slam I have backed Sabalenka to win – I hope that this time she doesn’t disappoint! Whilst her third round French Open defeat seemed unacceptable at first given her superb clay-court season leading up to it, on reflection it was somewhat forgivable given that the player she lost to (Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova) was the eventual finalist. Since then she has had a mediocre grass-court season so far (2-2 record) meaning she has one of the most favourable circumstances heading into Wimbledon when it comes to the WTA Tour, which is being under the radar. Therefore, I am predicting the Belarusian to finally prove her doubters wrong and turn up at a Grand Slam.
Anurag:  Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
Williams lacks enough match practice, Kvitova has a tough opening round and Halep is sitting out. Why not Barty? The world #1 was at the top of her versatile game before an old injury resurfaced. She is equally menacing on all surfaces. With a game that puts elegance before power, Barty can outclass the most formidable of opponents. Her game has everything including court coverage and wide angles.
Damian:  Serena Williams (USA)
I’m not even kidding and I think it might be now or never at this point. For the most part, she was playing very well at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros, playing at a level that would have allowed her to take it on the lawn. All the newcomers are lacking grass-court experience and with Ashleigh Barty missing the warm-up events, this seems like a perfect chance to get to that 24.
Andrew:  Petra Kvitova (CZE)
I don’t know would have been a more truthful answer. There are genuinely twenty names I went through and although Kvitova has a really difficult opener in Sloane Stephens I just think she has one of the very best grass court games out of anyone in the entire draw. I liked Muguruza but again her draw is very tough. Another pair of names in the same section are Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko. One of them could emerge from that section and have a big run.
Jakub:  Petra Kvitova (CZE)
After what happened at the French Open, it is quite clear that women’s tennis is going through an incredibly unpredictable era, especially when it comes to natural surfaces. In a situation like this, where so many players could plausibly won, why not predict something not only plausible but also easy to cheer for, and that is Petra Kvitova. The two-time Wimbledon champion has not been back to the quarterfinals there since her second title in 2014, but is in pretty good form on grass this year and managing to win a third Wimbledon after the December 2016 knife attack would be one of the greatest comeback stories the sport has ever seen.
Dark Horse – Who will go furthest in the draw, relative to their seeding (or ranking)?
Vithun:  Serena Williams (USA)
It seems wild to have Serena Williams as a dark horse but the unfortunate reality is the WTA Tour is no longer Serena and the field, as Serena is now immersed in the field like everyone else. Serena is seeded sixth this year but the last time she lost before the final at Wimbledon was in 2014. Therefore, I am predicting Serena to reach the final once again, although I expect her to lose the final in straight sets due to her continuous mental choking on trying to reach that milestone 24th Grand Slam.
Anurag:  Coco Gauff (USA)
The American has had a phenomenal season and has been very consistent. She is very quick on her feet. She also has a wide range of shots in her arsenal and can easily make her opponent do a lot of running. Gauff making the second week should not come as a surprise. But I see her going all the way to the last four. After all, women’s tennis is unpredictable.
Damian: Viktorija Golubic (SUI)
There could be many potential dark horses on the women’s side, so why not even someone unseeded. Viktorija Golubic has been winning a lot of matches across all levels of competition this season, making the finals at Lyon and Monterrey. She also had a very good run at Eastbourne. Most importantly, the section she’s in is rather weak and there could be a surprising quarterfinalist coming out from there. Golubic’s certainly got the game to do it, but I’m not convinced she’ll handle it mentally.
Andrew:  Coco Gauff (USA)
I don’t think this is much of a shock but Gauff is only seeded to reach the third round but she is a real danger for the title. Again, Ostapenko is in great grass form and could go deep from an unseeded position.
Jakub:  Karolina Muchova (CZE)
In her first Wimbledon main draw appearance, Muchova reached the quarterfinals, and I believe she can reach that same stage again. Her section is not among the strongest, with the other seeds being Svitolina, Badosa, and Pavlyuchenkova. Svitolina, who defeated Muchova in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon back in 2019, will most likely be the biggest hurdle for the Czech again. Though if Muchova wins this time, she will be among the final eight in a year where anything can happen.
Early Exit – Who will suffer the earliest exit, relative to their seeding (or ranking)?
Vithun:  Kiki Bertens (NED)
The Dutch player has announced that 2021 will be her last season after struggles with injury. To me she has also appeared to lack motivation in her matches as of late. Her first-round opponent is the talented teenager Marta Kostyuk, who played great tennis to reach the fourth Round of French Open this year. Bertens lost her opening match at the French Open and I expect the same to happen at Wimbledon.
Anurag:  Elina Svitolina (UKR)
The Ukrainian is not even nearly playing to the best of her ability. Whilst she was a semi-finalist at the last edition, she has an abysmal grass-court record. Although she has made good strides at all of the tournaments this season, she hasn’t won any. A fourth-round exit should be early enough for the third seed.
Damian:  Bianca Andreescu (CAN)
She’s just lost to Alize Cornet at Berlin, and now she’s drawn her again in the first round at Wimbledon. Even if she’s fully fit and takes revenge on the Frenchwoman, taking on Daria Kasatkina or Jelena Ostapenko in the third round will surely be too much for her rather raw grass-court game. Another early exit could be Iga Swiatek, who’s still trying to find her footing on grass and is facing the deadly Su-Wei Hsieh in her opener, which is a nightmare of a draw on grass. I wouldn’t want to be in Elina Svitolina’s shoes either.
Andrew:  Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Though her game should be suited to grass she has never convinced on the surface and she has a tricky draw against Tamara Zidansek. She could go in the first round. I think early exits could also come for Kiki Bertens against Marta Kostyuk in round one and again Aryna Sabalenka who will lose before the fourth round.
Jakub:  Serena Williams (USA)
Williams is considered the bookies’ favorite for the title, so I’m closing out with a bold pick here, but with this draw, I can definitely see her losing before the quarterfinals (which is where she is seeded to). The 39-year-old’s first two rounds are not horrible, opening against Sasnovich, who has previously reached the fourth round at Wimbledon but has been out of form in recent years, and then faces Hibino or Pera. In the third round though, Williams will probably come up against Angelique Kerber, whom she has battled against in two Wimbledon finals, with Kerber winning the most recent one in 2018. Waiting in the fourth round would probably be Coco Gauff or Belinda Bencic, both of which would present Williams with a challenge.
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