What do I always say about draws in bracketed tournaments? Brackets shape stories. Such is the case with the women’s tournament at Wimbledon.
Here is the collection of projected seeds in the round of 32:
Women's projected R3s:
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) June 28, 2019
The difference between the top half and the bottom half is enormous. If you look at the bottom half, you will notice that among the 16 seeded players, only ONE — ONE! — has made a Wimbledon semifinal: Simona Halep, and that was five years ago in 2014. The bottom half is completely wide open, giving dozens of players a career opportunity to make a major quarterfinal, much as Petra Martic did at Roland Garros. A “surprise semifinalist” wouldn’t even rate as a huge surprise in the bottom half, particularly the Pliskova-Svitolina quarter, since those two players have never made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
Victoria Azarenka could make a run in the bottom half of the draw. Hsieh Su-Wei could make her first major semifinal. Venus Williams is in the bottom half and could get on a roll on her favorite surface. Dozens of players could play on Thursday, July 11 in the semis. What delicious unpredictability.
And then… in the top half of the draw, we have the heavyweight division.
Lots of players in the top half could play a great or very good tournament and have absolutely nothing to show for it.
The facts speak for themselves:
Barty = World No. 1
Kerber = defending #Wimbledon champion
Serena Williams = SERENA WILLIAMS
Bencic = sharp rise from a low ranking, great season, comfy on grass.
3 will NOT make the semis for sure. #DrawsMatter
— Matt Zemek (@mzemek) June 28, 2019
The top quarter has most of the players who existed in the top tier of favorites for the tournament. The other top-tier favorite, Petra Kvitova, isn’t in the top quarter, but she is in the top half with two other considerable threats — Sloane Stephens and Jo Konta — plus a dangerous troublemaker in the lower tier of seeded players, Amanda Anisimova.
Barty. Bencic. Serena. Kerber. Kvitova. Stephens. Konta. Anisimova. In this group of eight players, all in the top half of the draw, you will find five major champions, seven major semifinalists, three Wimbledon champions, the World No. 1, and — objectively — three of the most successful women’s tennis players in 2019 (Barty, Bencic, and Kvitova, with Konta having an argument to make as the fourth-most successful player).
The bottom half is fun because no one knows what will happen. The top half is fun because so many prizefight-level matches could emerge.
2019 Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova versus 2019 Roland Garros semifinalist Amanda Anisimova could be a third-round match.
The 2018 Wimbledon final — Serena versus Kerber — could be a fourth-round match.
We’re going to have a great time with the WTA over the next two weeks, aren’t we?