World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, last year’s runner-up Karolina Pliskova, and seven-time champion Serena Williams have been placed in the top half of the draw for the Wimbledon women’s singles, the organisers said on Friday.
Swiatek, the newly-crowned Roland Garros champion, will look to extend her 35-match winning streak when she takes on qualifier Jana Fett at the All England Club.
The 21-year-old Pole could face former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, American No. 8 seed Jessica Pegula or 2017 winner Garbie Muguruza in the quarterfinals. Lying in wait for Swiatek as potential semifinal opponents are Pliskova, Williams, No. 4 seed Paula Badosa, and two-time champion Petra Kvitova.
Meanwhile, No. 16 seed Simona Halep, who faces a daunting task in her first match at Wimbledon since clinching the title in 2019, has been placed in the top half. The Romanian faces crafty Czech and two-time quarterfinalist Karolina Muchova.
Williams, who hasn’t played a singles match since last year’s Wimbledon, received a wild card into the main draw and opens her quest for a record 24th Grand Slam title against French world No.113 Harmony Tan. The 40-year-old could face Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, the No. 32 seed, in the second round and possibly Pliskova, the No. 6 seed, in the third round.
On the other hand, American teenager Coco Gauff, who reached the Roland Garros final, is a potential fourth-round opponent for Williams and begins her campaign against Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania.
The bottom half of the draw features recent Berlin champion and No. 3 seed Ons Jabeur, home favourite and No. 10 seed Emma Raducanu, Greek No. 5 seed Maria Sakkari, and in-form pair Belinda Bencic and Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Jabeur, who withdrew ahead of her Eastbourne doubles semifinal alongside Williams on Thursday with a knee injury, reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year. The Tunisian, who will rise to a career-high No. 2 in the world on Monday, faces Swedish qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund in the first round.
US Open champion Raducanu was given a tough opener against the in-form Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, who has won 12 matches on grass in the build-up to Wimbledon, including titles in Surbiton and Gaiba.
Raducanu is projected to meet the Australian Open runner-up and No. 9 seed Danielle Collins in the fourth round, with Jabeur or former champion Angelique Kerber looming ahead as potential quarterfinal opponents. Sakkari faces Australian qualifier Zoe Hives in the first round and could face Estonian No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals.
There are some exciting possible match-ups in the third round with Muguruza possibly facing Andreescu, Badosa projected to take on Kvitova, Amanda Anisimova standing in Gauff’s path and Bencic slated to meet Haddad Maia.
A decision on who will open Centre Court play on Tuesday, in the absence of last year’s champion Ashleigh Barty has been deferred by the organisers.
(Inputs from IANS)