Wimbleon Draw Report:
Venus Eyes Title No. 6
Ashley Marshall | June 30, 2017
Venus Williams' bid for a sixth Wimbledon crown begins Monday against Belgium's Elise Mertens and her road to the final could see her running a gauntlet of the game's elite.
Williams, one of eight American seeds – the most of any nation – in action in London, would play the winner of Qiang Wang or Kai-Chen Chang in Round 2 and could meet world No. 22 Barbora Strycova in Round 3. No. 8 seed Dominika Cibulkova is her possible round-of-16 opponent, while French Open quarterfinalist and No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina could stand in Venus' way in the quarterfinals.
Should Williams reach the final four, she could possibly meet world No. 2 Simona Halep, a runner-up in Paris earlier this month, in the semifinals and world No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the championship match.
Of the other American women's seeds in the English capital, No. ADVERTISEMENT 17 Madison Keys plays Nao Hibino of Japan and No. 25 seed CoCo Vandeweghe plays Mona Barthel of Germany. No. 28 seed Lauren Davis will play fellow American Varvara Lepchenko, one of four all-U.S. matchups in the first round.
Shelby Rogers and Julia Boserup will also square off, with the winner likely to face Lucie Safarova in Round 2, and Alison Riske will play Sloane Stephens.
Among other non-seeded U.S. women in action, CiCi Bellis faces two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka, who will be playing her first Grand Slam action in more than a year; Jennifer Brady plays Danka Kovinic; and Madison Brengle plays Richel Hogenkamp. In addition, Bethanie Mattek-Sands plays Magda Linette, while Christina McHale meets hometown favorite Katie Boulter.
Irina Falconi was the lone U.S. woman to advance through the qualifying tournament, beating Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia, 6-1, 6-4. She will be placed in the draw later on Friday, at the conclusion of the women's qualifying matches.
In the men's draw, top-ranked American Jack Sock starts his campaign against 21-year-old qualifier Christian Garin of Chile, while 23rd-seeded John Isner plays American teen Taylor Fritz, who came through qualifying after skipping the clay-court season to prepare for the summer swing. Fritz, along with Falconi, was one of only two Americans to come through qualifying, with Denis Kudla, Dennis Novikov, Kristie Ahn and Asia Muhammad falling in the final qualifying round.
Among the other men's seeds, No. 24 seed Sam Querrey will play Italy's Thomas Fabbiano and No. 26 seed Steve Johnson faces Nicolas Kicker of Argentina.
Elsewhere on the opening two days of play, Donald Young faces Denis Istomin, rising star Frances Tiafoe plays veteran Robin Haase, Jared Donaldson meets Janko Tipsarevic, Ryan Harrison plays Borna Coric and Ernesto Escobedo plays Adam Pavlasek.
Should the seeds advance through the first two rounds, Sock could potentially meet No. 10 seed Alex Zverev in the round of 32, while Isner would play No. 13 Grigor Dimitrov. Also in that quarter of the draw is seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and sixth-seeded Milos Raonic. Querrey would be scheduled to meet No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round and Johnson could meet former US Open champion and No. 7 seed Marin Cilic.
The top half of the men's draw and the bottom half of the women's draw play on Monday, with the other first-round matches played Tuesday. That means three of 10 American men play on Day 1 along with five of 14 U.S. women.