UNVEILED FOR 2018 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ashley Marshall | June 29, 2018
By awarding Serena Williams one of the 32 seeded positions at Wimbledon, officials at the All England Club assured their seven-time champion that she would not face another seed until at least the third round.
But should Serena make it that far, the road from there to a potential historic 24th Grand Slam women’s singles title is littered with stumbling blocks and major obstacles, including many from her own country.
Serena Williams begins her tournament against Aranxta Rus of the Netherlands and would face either Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic or Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria in the second round.
That’s where the protection afforded to her as a seed runs out. World No. 5 Elina Svitolina is a potential blockbuster third-round matchup, while world No. 10 Madison Keys is the highest-ranked of Serena’s possible opponents in the round of 16.
Good friend and No. ADVERTISEMENT 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki could be a likely quarterfinal opponent, while any number of challengers could stand in her way in the semis. Reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, 2016 US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka are all in Serena's half of the draw.
Stephens, who claimed her first Grand Slam title in New York last summer and reached the final of the French Open last month, has a first-round encounter with young Croatian Donna Vekic and could potentially meet Venus in the quarterfinals.
That assumes No. 9 seed Venus (pictured above) will get past Johanna Larsson of Sweden in the first round and then advances past other potential opponents like No. 20 seed Kiki Bertens in the third round and big-serving Pliskova in the fourth round.
Keys opens against Croatian-born Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic and could face fellow American Bernarda Pera in round 2 if Pera beats Luk Kumkhum of Thailand. Christina McHale starts her campaign against Vera Lapko of Belarus.
In the bottom quarter, No. 16 seed Coco Vandeweghe faces Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic; Madison Brengle plays Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia; and Varvara Lepchenko plays Wozniacki.
In the top half of the women’s draw, seven other unseeded Americans will be looking to cause upsets of their own.
In world No. 1 Simona Halep’s quarter of the draw, Sachia Vickery will play Czech teenager Markeeta Vondrousova; Danielle Collins will face No. 15 seed Elise Mertens; Sofia Kenin will battle Maria Sakkari of Greece; and Taylor Townsend will go up against France’s Pauline Parmentier.
Then in the Garbiñe Muguruza quarter, Jen Brady will play Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine; reigning Wimbledon juniors champ Claire Liu was rewarded for her run through qualies with a first-round match against fellow teen Ana Konjuh of Croatia; and Alison Riske will play Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland for the right to play either sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia or Belinda Bencic in the round of 64.
In the men’s draw, American eyes will be focused primarily on the three seeded players, one of whom will be looking to earn the hardest of grass-court wins.
No. 11 seed Sam Querrey faces Jordan Thompson of Australia in the first round and could play No. 23 seed Richard Gasquet of France in the third round. Querrey has defeated the top seed in each of the past two years (Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Andy Murray last summer), and he could have a chance to complete the unlikely hat-trick of upsets if he plays Roger Federer in the fourth round.
Also in the top half of the draw, top-seeded American John Isner plays qualifier Yannick Madden of Germany in the first round and would meet the winner of Steve Johnson and Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium in round 2.
Should either American reach the fourth round, they would potentially meet No. 6 seed Grigor Dimitrov or three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, who face off in the first round.
Ryan Harrison plays Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain and qualifier Michael Mmoh makes his Wimbledon main-draw debut against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
In No. 3 seed Marin Cilic’s quarter, Mackenzie McDonald plays Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania and Denis Kudla faces No. 17 seed Lucas Pouille of France. Elsewhere, Jared Donaldson plays Malek Jaziri of Tunisia.
In the bottom half of the draw, Frances Tiafoe faces No. 30 seed Fernando Verdasco and could potentially meet seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem in the third round.
Qualifier Bradley Klahn opens against Yuichi Sugita of Japan, while Tennys Sandgren faces three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic. Qualifier Christian Harrison begins against No. 24 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan and Taylor Fritz faces Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego.
The lone American in the bottom quarter of the draw is No. 18 seed Jack Sock. He faces Matteo Berrettini in the first round and potentially 10th-seeded David Goffin in round 3.
In total, 30 American men and women are in the main draw, more than any other nation. France has 16 players in the main draw, with every other country fielding 15 or fewer.