Wimbledon 2015: Serena Williams in same half as Safarova and Sharapova
WTA world number one Serena Williams, Coral’s 13/8 favourite tournament favourite, will have to beat sister Venus, and French Open final opponent Lucie Safarova or Russian racket star Maria Sharapova in her half of the 2015 Wimbledon ladies’ singles draw.
Serena will begin her SW19 campaign against up-and-coming Russian player Margarita Gasparyan, while the elder Williams sister has an all-American match-up with Madison Brengle.
Defending champion Petra Kvitova (7/2 to retain from 10/3 following the draw) will play Dutch starlet Kiki Bertens first, while wildcard Briton Laura Robson continues her comeback from injury against Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina.
Top home hope Heather Watson clashes with Caroline Garica of France, the 32nd seed in round one. She could face Serena Williams in the last 32.
British number two Johanna Konta performed admirably at the AEGON International at Eastborune by reaching the quarter-finals, but will have to pull off another giant-killing in round one of Wimbledon as she has been paired with 2004 winner Sharapova (10/1 from 9/1).
French Open runner-up Safarova begins her SW19 bid against American Alison Riske.
Agnieszka Radwanska, Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki, all still active at Eastborune at the time the Wimbledon draw was made, will have early tests next week at Wimbledon.
Former SW19 finalist Radwanska faces fellow Eastern European competitot Lucie Hradecka, Stephens of the USA plays Barbora Strycova and world number five Wozniacki will play Chinese youngster Zheng Saisai.
Selected 2015 Wimbledon ladies’ singles first round matches
Serena Williams (1) v Margarita Gasparyan
Heather Watson v Caroline Garcia (32)
Sara Errani (19) v Francesca Schiavone
Venus Williams (16) v Madison Brengle
Carla Suarez Navarro (9) v Jelena Ostapenko
Victoria Azarenka (23) v Anett Kontaveit
Maria Sharapova (4) v Johanna Konta
Karolina Pliskova (11) v Irina Falconi
Alison Riske v Lucie Safarova (6)
Caroline Wozniacki (5) v Zheng Saisai
Sabine Lisicki (18) v Jarmila Gajdosova
Svetlana Kuznetsova (26) v Laura Siegemund
Jana Cepelova v Simona Halep (3)
Laura Robson v Evgeniya Rodina
Agnieszka Radwanska (13) v Lucie Hradecka
Petra Kvitova (2) v Kiki Bertens