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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis round-up: Serena Williams seeded 25th for Wimbledon

Tennis round-up: Serena Williams seeded 25th for Wimbledon

Last updated on: June 27, 2018 16:44 IST

Serena Williams

IMAGE: Serena Williams. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams has been seeded 25th at the tournament this year despite a world ranking of 183 as she continues her return from maternity leave.

 

It means the 36-year-old American, winner in 2016 but absent last year because of her pregnancy, will avoid the big names until at least the third round.

World number one Simona Halep is top seed in the women's singles with 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza at three while defending champion Roger Federer tops the men's seeds despite Spaniard Rafael Nadal knocking him off the number one spot in the rankings this week.

The All England Club's seedings committee met on Tuesday with the thorny issue of whether to break from the actual WTA rankings and seed Williams top of their agenda.

While she enjoys a protected ranking and can enter the Grand Slams without having to qualify, that does not automatically mean she can also be handed a seeded position.

At the French Open last month, when her ranking was 451, she was not seeded and came up against Australian 17th seed Ashleigh Barty in the second round, winning in three sets.

She reached the fourth round before pulling out shortly before her match against Russian Maria Sharapova.

While many have said Williams, who has played only seven competitive matches since giving birth to Alexis Olympia last September, should not be penalised for taking time out to start a family, others say seeding her is unfair.

One of them, Slovakian former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova, is the player most disadvantaged by the decision to seed Williams as she is WTA 32nd in the rankings and would have taken the last seeded spot.

Unless a seed withdraws before the start Cibulkova could now potentially face Halep, or Williams, in the first round.

"I think it's now right that WTA offers a protected ranking. I think that's good. But I think this is a little bit of a different story," she said at the Eastbourne championships.

"Why should I not be seeded if I have the right to be?

"I think if it was a different player, not her, I think she would not be seeded. It's just because she won it many times and she's Serena Williams. So I think that's why."

Williams has won a professional era record 23 Grand Slam titles and needs one more to match the all-time record set by Australian player Margaret Court.

 

Kvitova withdraws from Eastbourne with injury

 

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has withdrawn from the Eastbourne grasscourt championships with a hamstring injury, organisers said on Wednesday.

 

The third seed was due to play to play a third-round match against Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.

 

"I'm really disappointed to have to withdraw from Eastbourne this morning," the Czech player said.

 

"I felt my hamstring in the Birmingham final and although I played with tape in my match here yesterday, when I woke up this morning it felt worse.

 

"With Wimbledon around the corner I couldn't take the risk of making it worse by playing today."

 

Kvitova won the Wimbledon title in 2011 and 2014.

 

Earlier, twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova continued her sizzling streak on grass with a 7-5, 6-3 defeat of Kateryna Bondarenko in her opening match at the Eastbourne championships on Tuesday.

In hot and fast conditions at DevonshirePark the Czech had too much firepower for Bondarenko as she took her winning run on grass to six having won last week's title in Birmingham.

Defending champion Kvitova reeled off the last five games to set up a meeting with long-time rival Agnieszka Radwanska to came from a set down to beat Daria Gavrilova.

Home favourite Johanna Konta, seeking to rediscover the form that took her to the Wimbledon semis last year, was in dominant form against injury-hampered Aleksandra Krunic, winning 6-1, 6-3.

Konta will play top seed Caroline Wozniacki in round two.

Last year's French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko got back to winning ways after her first-round exit at Roland Garros in impressive style, beating world number 15 Kaia Kanepi 6-3 7-5.

In the men's event there were wins for seeded players Leonardo Mayer and Steve Johnson.

Mayer, the fifth seed, beat Frenchman Gilles Simon while American seventh seed Johnson proved too sharp for Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Former world number one Andy Murray, who beat Stan Wawrinka on Monday to claim a first win since returning from almost a year out with a hip injury, faces fellow Briton Kyle Edmund, the second seed, on Wednesday.

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