Wimbledon 2016 – Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia Noted
In this article, Shane Lambert looks at the players that may not be all that hyped but that could still do some major damage.
The top-five favorites heading into Wimbledon are the ones that you would more-or-less expect: Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, and Madison Keys.* However, there’s good reason to be skeptical of each one of these players as the draw date for Wimbledon 2016 nears.
With Williams, she appears to have lost an edge a bit as she has suffered late-round upsets in each of the last three majors. The World No. 1 ranking could be up for grabs soon if she doesn’t start finishing tournaments as she used to. Wimbledon promises to be a great venue for getting back on track, however I think the gap between Williams and the other favorites is closing.
On that matter, Muguruza promises to be dangerous at Wimbledon. Yet a legit reason to be skeptical of the recently-crowned French Open champion may be that she’s lost some of her motivation following her success in Paris. After all, she lost early in at the Mallorca Open last week, a tournament that was played in her home country and one she should have been inspired to play well in.
In regard to Kvitova, Azarenka, and Keys the former has not played up to her normal standard all season. Azarenka, on the other hand, was lights out early this season but she has been idle a lot lately. With Keys there is a growing sense of improvement with her but she still has just one Grand Slam semifinal appearance to her credit. With valid criticisms of all the favorites, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some lesser-known players make a deep charge in the All England Club’s draw.
Coco Vandeweghe is certainly a candidate for a dark-horse run in the tournament. The 10th favorite for Wimbledon won ‘s-Hertogenbosch a couple of weeks ago. Furthermore, Vandeweghe was dangerous in the Birmingham draw before she appeared to bump into fatigue problems. A quarterfinalist last season at the All England Club, Vandeweghe could be considered more of a favorite than a questionable Azarenka and an off-form Kvitova to win Wimbledon 2016.
Kristina Mladenovic is also a very interesting player. The French national won the French Open doubles title a few weeks ago, something that has to help with her confidence. Furthermore, she played Serena Williams tough in the third round of the singles draw. On grass, recently she was the player that lost to Vandeweghe in the ‘s-Hertogenbosch final, however that was after defeating Belinda Bencic in the semifinals. More recently, Mladenovic defeated Timea Bacsinszky on grass in Eastbourne, a player who is considered a slightly stronger favorite for Wimbledon.
I also think Caroline Garcia is due to surge into the Top 15 on the WTA Tour. Garcia is the 21st-favorite for Wimbledon, putting her well below numerous other players on tour that have looked far more questionable in the short term. Garcia partnered with Mladenovic to win the French Open doubles and she claimed the Mallorca Open title last week on grass. That’s a good follow-up to her clay-court efforts where she won Strasbourg earlier this season.
Vandeweghe, Mladenovic, and Garcia will enter Wimbledon as low seeds. However, they are very dangerous still and could cause an upset in the third round against a tournament favorite. It will be very interesting to see where each player in this trio ends up in Friday’s draw as each one is capable of playing well above her current ranking.
*all favorites as per William Hill