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Who will win ‘wide open’ Wimbledon women’s title?

Watch the five best shots as Johanna Konta beats Maria Sakkari
Wimbledon 2017 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 3-16 July Starts: 11:30 BST
Live: Coverage across BBC TV, BBC Radio and BBC Sport website with further coverage on Red Button, Connected TVs and app. Full times here.

Will it be the Briton, the veteran former champ, the young sensation, the new mum, the number one – or someone else?

We are down to the last 16 names in the women’s singles on the Wimbledon grass but which one of them will win it is about as clear as mud.

“There is no-one who I would say for sure will be in the final,” said Kim Clijsters, a four-time Grand Slam winner.

“There is no real favourite and it makes it so exciting. We can puzzle about it now, but I love that there are going to be surprises.”

Former world number one Tracy Austin, a regular as a player and a pundit at SW19 since her debut here in 1977, also expects an eventful second week.

“In my 40 years coming to Wimbledon I have never seen a women’s tournament as wide open as this one,” she said. “I have no idea who will win.

“There are 16 women left in the draw and I legitimately think that there are 10 who have an opportunity to win this title. It will come down to who can handle the pressure and the nerves and some of these players have never been on this stage before.

“It is a really interesting time, with Serena Williams away on maternity leave and Maria Sharapova missing the first few months of the year through suspension.

“With two of the biggest names absent, there has been a real opportunity for someone to step up and fill that void, but it has not happened yet.

“Venus Williams is the only former Wimbledon winner left, so there is a big chance of a new champion – that would a life-changer for them because this is the biggest tournament in the world, and winning it would be a dream come true.”

So, who will get their hands on the Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court on Saturday?

Clijsters and Austin look at the chances of some of the contenders.

Johanna Konta – the in-form home hope

Age: 26 Country: Great Britain
World ranking: Seven Wimbledon seeding: Six
Best at Wimbledon: Second round in 2016 Best Grand Slam: Semi-final at 2016 Australian Open

Kim Clijsters: “She is the bookmakers’ favourite but that does not really mean anything. Johanna is a smart girl and she knows she should not take it all too seriously – she just has to focus on one match at a time.

“Her next opponent is Caroline Garcia, who did very well at the French Open. Garcia is a very tricky player, with good hands and great volleys so she will not be an easy opponent – but I think Konta will win.

“It is her consistency that might make the difference for Johanna when it comes to getting through next week – she is the most consistent player out of everyone left.

“She might find it difficult against someone like Jelena Ostapenko or Ana Konjuh – big hitters who can make it hard for a lot of players – but she has every potential to be the champion.”

Tracy Austin: “Konta had never got past the second round here before this year but she looks in amazing form.

“She came into the tournament in good form on grass so has real momentum, as well as the home support, and she seems to be handling the pressure.

“Her section of the draw is the toughest, but she can only play one match at a time so she should not be worrying about that.”

Simona Halep – the best player without a Slam?

Age: 25 Country: Romania
World ranking: Two Wimbledon seeding: Two
Best at Wimbledon: Semi-final in 2014 Best other Grand Slam: Runner-up at French Open in 2014 & 2017

Tracy Austin: “I see Halep as a possible winner but she is playing Victoria Azarenka in round four – boy, that is a tough draw.

“Azarenka is a two-time major champ now ranked 683 in the world after taking a year out. If I am Halep, I am thinking ‘wow – how come I got the dangerous sleeper?'”

Kim Clijsters: “Simona has got the game for grass – she showed that in 2014. With her height and the way she moves, she is always balanced and she reads the game well.

“Simona is very consistent, but I think her coach Darren Cahill is trying to work with her on being a little bit more aggressive at times because that is what you need if you want to win here.”

Jelena Ostapenko – fresh from French Open triumph

Age: 20 Country: Latvia
World ranking: 13 Wimbledon seeding: 13
Best at Wimbledon: Second round in 2015 Best other Grand Slam: Won 2017 French Open

Kim Clijsters: “Ostapenko was so fearless in Paris and at times she was making a lot of unforced errors, but mentally she wasn’t letting it get to her which was incredible to watch.

“She’s still in the draw, still fighting and still doing her thing with a lot of confidence. Do I think she’s going to win it? I don’t know. There are a few players who are a little more consistent.”

Tracy Austin: “There is a lot of expectation around Jelena after she won the French Open, but she is doing a good job of dealing with it.

“She has a tough match next, though, against Elina Svitolina – nobody ever brings her up, but she has won four titles this year.

“Svitolina’s game does not seem to translate to grass, but that has not stopped her making it this far.”

Venus Williams – a winner at the age of 37?

Age: 37 Country: United States
World ranking: 11 Wimbledon seeding: 10
Best at Wimbledon: Winner in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 Best other Grand Slam: Won 2000 and 2001 US Open

Tracy Austin: “Who would have thought that playing her 20th Wimbledon, Venus would still be such a huge factor?

“She is getting through matches rather than playing well but because the draw is so wide open, she plays so well on this surface and feels so comfortable here as the five-time former champion, she could certainly make the transition in form and win next Saturday.”

Ana Konjuh – the youngest player left

Age: 19 Country: Croatia
World ranking: 29 Wimbledon seeding: 27
Best at Wimbledon: Third round in 2014 Best other Grand Slam: Quarter-final at 2016 US Open

Tracy Austin: “Konjuh is only 19 so Venus has been coming to Wimbledon before she was even on this earth.

“It just underlines the tremendous amount of variety in the 16 players that are left, and there are so many stories there.”

Kim Clijsters: “Ana is actually one of my favourites to win. I love how she plays, and her attitude – she is aggressive, with a positive mind-set and she will definitely cause Venus problems when they meet in the fourth round

“That match especially is what this situation is all about. The new generation against someone who has played through a lot of generations already. It will be great to see, and I hope I get to commentate on it.”

Coco Vandeweghe – Pat Cash’s protege

Age: 25 Country: United States
World ranking: 25 Wimbledon seeding: 24
Best at Wimbledon: quarter-final in 2015 Best other Grand Slam: semi-final at 2017 Australian Open

Tracy Austin: “My outsider would be Coco. She has been working with Pat Cash, who is a terrific coach. As a former Wimbledon champion, I think he is really going to help her figure out what shots to play on this surface.

“She has got a huge serve, powerful groundstrokes and loves to come forward to finish off points – so she has got a chance.”

Victoria Azarenka – back on tour after first baby

Age: 27 Country: Belarus
World ranking: 683 Wimbledon seeding: Unseeded
Best at Wimbledon: Semi-final in 2011 & 2012 Best other Grand Slam: Won Australian Open in 2012 & 2013

Kim Clijsters, who won the 2009 US Open 18 months after the birth of daughter Jada: “This is only Azarenka’s second tournament since coming back after giving birth, but once you step out on a practice court or a match court, your routine is there.

“Like me, she has played tennis for so many years before she had her kid and it is so easy to get back into that bubble and to know the game and how to read your opponent.

“That is something she did very well against Britain’s Heather Watson in round three. Maybe Azarenka is not playing her best tennis, but she is still able to play the important moments well.”

Agnieszka Radwanska – a specialist on this surface

Age: 28 Country: Poland
World ranking: 10 Wimbledon seeding: 9
Best at Wimbledon: Runner-up in 2012 Best other Grand Slam: Semi-final at 2014 & 2016 Australian Open

Tracy Austin: “‘Aggy’ has actually won the second most grass-court matches of anybody on the WTA Tour right now behind Venus Williams. Radwanska has 60, Venus has 89.

“She has not really played well this year until Wimbledon, but I watched her play a fantastic match in round three on Saturday, and her game really is tailor-made for grass.”

Svetlana Kuznetsova – adapting to grass at last?

Age: 32 Country: Russia
World ranking: 8 Wimbledon seeding: 7
Best at Wimbledon: Quarter-final in 2002, 2003, 2005 & 2007 Best other Grand Slam: Won 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open

Kim Clijsters: “Venus is the only former Wimbledon winner left but also in the last 16 are Svetlana Kuznetsova, Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber, who have all won Grand Slams before.

“Svetlana knows what it is like to win a major tournament and that is something that is so important in the later rounds.

Tracy Austin: “Kuznetsova has got her consistency back but the question is, can she break through on this surface in her early 30s?

Angelique Kerber – top of the world, bottom of the form table

Age: 29 Country: Germany
World ranking: 1 Wimbledon seeding: 1
Best at Wimbledon: Runner-up in 2016 Best other Grand Slam: Won Australian Open and US Open in 2016

Tracy Austin: “Kerber had a tremendous 2016 but 2017 has been very disappointing for her so far, and she was close to going out in round three – Shelby Rogers had points to go a set and 5-2 up.

“But one win could turn it around for the world number one, and it could be that one she eventually got on Saturday. We know she has quality, it is just her confidence that is lacking.

Highlights: Kerber battles back to beat Rogers

“Kerber is playing Garbine Muguruza, another former Wimbledon finalist, in round four but then you have also have Magdalena Rybarikova who is ranked 87 in the world, playing against Petra Martic, ranked 135.

“So you have two players outside the top 100 looking for a quarter-final spot at Wimbledon – that is incredible.”

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