By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Wimbledon’s lawn is a slippery slope for women’s seeds.
Four of the Top 10 ladies’ seeds—seven-time champion Serena Williams, two-time champion Petra Kvitova, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu and ninth-seeded Belinda Bencic—all fell at the first hurdle.
Former world No. 1 Williams suffered a right leg injury that forced her to retire against Aliaksanda Sasnovich in her opener yesterday. That came after former US Open champion Sloane Stephens stopped Kvitova 6-3, 6-4.
Today, world No. 102 Kaja Juvan swept Bencic 6-3, 6-3 after Frenchwoman Alize Cornet conquered Andreescu for the second time this month on grass 6-2, 6-1.
While some players point to the slick grass that contributed to Serena’s fall and injury-induced exit, others say the fact Roland Garros moved back a week leaving a shortened grass season that provided players a condensed transition time from red clay to grass.
“I just have to kind of put the pieces together,” Andreescu said of translating her game to grass. “Hasn’t really been like that the past couple of tournaments, but I know I’m going to get there, and I’m super excited for that.”
Meanwhile, a wide-open Wimbledon offers exciting opportunity that began with reigning champion Simona Halep forced to pull out with a calf injury and US Open and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka withdrawing after revealing she’s been battling depression.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, who warmed up for Wimbledon winning her 13th career title on the grass of Bad Homburg, 19th-seeded Karolina Muchova and 20th-seeded Coco Gauff may well benefit most from 23-time major champion Serena Williams’ exit.
Kerber was on course to face Williams in the third round prior to the American’s exit, Muchova showed her all-court skills reaching the Australian Open semifinals in February and Gauff reached the Wimbledon fourth round as a qualifier in 2019 bowing to eventual-champion Halep.