Wimbledon: Two-time champion Petra Kvitova beats Johanna Larsson

Wimbledon betting tips: Andy Schooler's ladies' singles preview

With no defending champion Serena Williams this year, and with Maria Sharapova pulling out of Wimbledon Qualifying after injury on her comeback, the field is wide open.

"Players like Petra (Kvitova), Karolina Pliskova and a few others have an advantage over the others due to their game styles matching so well with grass".

A three-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, the 32-year-old two-time Grand Slam champion remains a tough out for any player on the WTA Tour, but has not reached the last eight since 2007.

But the flip side is the 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 last month.

Even though she has been out of action for almost six months, she has also still been making the tennis headlines.

Konta has tallied a pair of tournament victories this year, at Miami and Sydney, but has never advanced past the second round in five Wimbledon appearances, while Venus Williams tries to put off-court distractions aside as she pursues a sixth career Wimbledon crown.

While Ostapenko, who faces Belarus' 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.

Wimbledon betting tips: Andy Schooler's ladies' singles preview
Kristina Mladenovic's column: The challenge of grass, Kvitova's return and tennis' baby boom

Kerber, who will take on the 246th-ranked Irina Falconi in the first round, was beaten in her first Wimbledon final 12 months ago and is relishing getting back on the famous grass next week.

Only a gruelling period of rehabilitation on the hand, which at first meant just bending her fingers, helped her enough to recover and return to the court. Of course it's a lot, at the moment it's all my life, from childhood, through my teenage years, until now, but the sporting career doesn't last forever, there is life as well, which is probably even more important.

"I'm glad that I'm part of the tennis family", said Kvitova.

She only needed one as Larsson proved just as generous by failing to get a serve in. Champions do, so who won the Wimbledon singles titles past year.

After a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros, the elder Williams returns to the scene of five of her seven Grand Slams free from the significant obstacle of her younger sibling (though off-court issues could cloud things).

"I'm surprised at how well I'm playing, for sure", Kvitova said.

"But on a fast surface such as grass I think she can do really well", Mouratoglou added.



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