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Thursday 24 April 2014

The top 10 women to watch at Wimbledon

Maria Sharapova Picture: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Maria Sharapova Picture: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Serena Williams

There are few superlatives left for the reigning champion, who seems to be getting better with age. Merciless last summer and peerless in France last week, the American is on 16 grand slam titles and two behind the great Martina Navratilova. With a near-unstoppable serve and reserves of power, it will take some effort to stop her.

Maria Sharapova

The one player to look as good as Williams at Roland Garros, Sharapova could live with her in the final. Until then she had looked a contender and she will be again, with her four grand slams dictating as much. Has made a lot of finals and semis over recent years and needs to improve her conversion rate.

Victoria Azarenka

The Belarusian is not the most popular player on the tour but clearly has the game to trouble the very best. Has two Australian Open wins on her resume and is a two-time Wimbledon finalist. Also made the last four in Paris and will be keen to show she can win on a different surface to the hard courts.

Agnieszka Radwanska

The Pole was unfortunate to run into Williams in last year's final, having made such great strides to reach it. A run to the quarter-finals at the French may well give her confidence ahead of Wimbledon too, helping her forget a poor start to her clay-court season.

Sara Errani

A clay-court specialist, Errani has never been too successful on grass, with the third round her best Wimbledon return. She was excellent in France, though, before running into Williams, and will be looking to better her previous efforts.

Petra Kvitova

A Wimbledon winner in 2011, Kvitova's defence ended in the quarter-finals last year, with Williams her conqueror. Results have not been kind since and she has not passed the fourth round of a slam, so it remains to be seen whether or not 2011 was a sign of things to come or an anomaly.

Li Na

The Chinese has proven she can be a major threat at grand slam events, winning the French Open in 2011 and reaching the final of the Australian Open in 2011 and 2013. However, the world number six is not in the best of form, suffering early exits in her last three tournaments - including a second-round loss at Roland Garros - and will need to do better if she is to go beyond the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time.

Laura Robson

British hopes could well rest on Robson - or her compatriot Heather Watson. Robson is currently in the top 40 of the world rankings and has recorded results worth of respect over the last year. Her junior title at SW19 is very much forgotten and now is is time for her to start going deeper into the senior draw.

Maria Kirilenko

A quarter-finalist a year ago, a run to the last eight of the French suggests she may now be finding the form to turn a promising reputation into real results. She is 26 now and is in need of a deep run into a tournament to back that up.

Sloane Stephens

The American is arguably the most exciting player to have emerged on the women's tour for some time. A semi-finalist in Australia where she was unfortunate to be undone by Azarenka, many consider her to be Serena Williams' heir apparent. Just 20, she has many years ahead and is adept on any surface.

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