As we know, the British Open title is now well within reach but she has made the most of a top-ten placement which included defeating the defending champion, Natalya Pavlyuchenkova, at Queen’s with a 63 63 performance. Pavlyuchenkova won the previous two Grand Slam singles crowns but her last victory was five years prior at the US Open. Even with all those years left on her championship reign, the Brit had never played a best-of-three since the U.S. Open in 2011 and, according to Wimbledon, she was just 17 in all matches before Monday’s victory. Kenin had not won a singles match since November 2012 and had never defeated a No.1. It appears the only thing preventing her from reaching that total in 2017 is whether she can stay healthy this week.
This was Kenin’s first Grand Slam match since the Roland Garros final in March. She’s looking to follow in the footsteps of 2014 Australian Open champion Anna Ivanovic who also set a record in their fourth match and this time it was 63 61. Just a few weeks before, Kenin had suffered a back injury and a shoulder injury that took her from October’s U.S. Open to the U.S. Open and that didn’t serve to her confidence heading into the U.S. Open. However, Kenin made the most of her back recovery and made the most of her opponents at the U.S. Open. She defeated all her top-ten opponents to finish with a 72 61 record. This season, she’s ranked No. 4 and she’s off to a stellar start. She will most likely not be playing in the Australian Open Championship and should be at her best on the Wimbledon grass this week.
The year is already off to a great start for 22-year-old Nadia Nadim in what she was able to achieve in the previous one. For the last four years, she had been the lowest ranked of the women’s ranks. She had struggled throughout the first half of the 2015-16 season, falling in the fourth round of the Wimbledon Championship and winning the 2016 U.S. Open title with a 62 63 win over the defending champion, Victoria Azarenka. Though Nadim’s results did not exactly have her as the world No. 1, she did make her way into top-10 contention and lost the ranking by seven points. It was not until 2017 that Nadim was able to catch the Top 100 and she took the number two spot after two straight weeks. She began the U.S. Open at No. 1 in January and maintained it for 12 of her 28 matches, losing just once in the process. For her last eight days, she has been in contention for the No. 1 spot but can she stay healthy enough to be there?
This year will mark the 10th time in Nadim’s career that she’s reached a Grand Slam final. At last year’s Wimbledon Championships, she was an early favorite to make it that far. However, having recently lost in the quarterfinal, she was not quite worthy of a win in the final. While it’s not an uncommon occurrence, her opponent is no fan favorite, in fact, her last eight matches are ranked No. 5 in the world. She’s outplayed six of her six opponents and she has, in the past, outplayed an all-time great. For a top-8 seed, Nadim has been just as successful as she was expected to be after Wimbledon 2015. So who better to take her and show she’s the best player in the world than the world No. 1? She hasn’t played since the Wimbledon final, and perhaps her biggest obstacle is her health.
Jade Thompson’s return to the top of the world rankings is becoming a common experience. Since the end of 2015, she has become the top-ranked player from that year to fall out of the top-five. What makes this unique is that she is the first to fall from the world No. 1 spot during each of those instances. The last person to fall is 2014 Australian Open champion, Lindsay Davenport, who fell out of the list in 2014 after the U.S. Open. This could suggest the next possible faller for No. 1 in the upcoming 2016 U.S. Open could be someone like 2015 champion, Angelique Kerber, or 2015 Wimbledon champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who also competed at the Wimbledon Final. While the lack of women’s No. 1’s on the tour is a concern for the women’s game