An open race in women’s field

03-07-2017
DH

It is an opportunity for the sport’s less heralded names to seize the spotlight, as Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko showed with her unexpected breakthrough triumph at the French Open.

“Of course, it’s different if Serena is not here. Everything is possible, in two weeks especially,” world number one Angelique Kerber said.

Ostapenko, 20, shot up to 13th in the world from 47th after coming from a set and 3-0 down to defeat Simona Halep in the Roland Garros final.

Now she has to prove that stunning success was more than a flash in the pan.

A junior Wimbledon champion in 2014, Ostapenko’s game is well suited for the low-bouncing lawns of the All England Club, now that she has learned to enjoy a surface she once thought was only “for soccer”.

While Ostapenko, who faces Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round, arrived in London on a wave of post-Paris euphoria, second seed Halep is still struggling to come to terms with her failure to win her first Grand Slam. The 25-year-old Romanian, who has never been past the semifinals at Wimbledon, opens her campaign against Marina Erakovic.

Kerber needs to improve dramatically after making unwanted history when her defeat against Ekaterina Makarova made her the first top-ranked woman in the Open era to fall in the opening round in Paris. 

If Petra Kvitova gets her hands on the Venus Rosewater Dish for a third time, it would complete a fairytale comeback for the Czech following the horrific hand injury she sustained while being attacked by a knife-wielding burglar in her home in December.

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