WTA: Who is defending what this grass season?

Published by Leigh Rogers

UNDER PRESSURE: Angelique Kerber during her run to the Wimbledon 2016 final; Getty Images

Consider yourself warned, there is going to be a lot of talk about the women’s No.1 ranking during the grass court swing.

Angelique Kerber is hanging on – just – but last year’s Wimbledon finalist is at risk of losing the coveted position with lots of points to defend in coming weeks.

How much does the German have to defend? Well, to paint a clearer picture we’ve compiled all the ranking points the top 20 players (excluding the pregnant Serena Williams) earned from grass events in 2016 and compared this against their current totals. What does it show?

Kerber has 19 per cent of her ranking to defend, a much higher percentage than Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova, who lead the challengers within striking distance of her top spot.

For Elena Vesnina and Madison Keys, their top 20 rankings hinge on their grass court performance with the highest percentage of points to defend. The pressure is also on Dominika Cibulkova and Venus Williams, two of the best performers on the surface last season.

But for a number of in-form players, including newly-crowned French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and Elina Svitolina, the grass court swing is an opportunity to further improve their rankings.

Rank Player Points to defend % of point total
1 Angelique Kerber  1,400  19%
2 Simona Halep 430 6%
3 Karolina Pliskova 656 9%
5 Elina Svitolina 71 1%
6 Dominika Cibulkova  900 20%
7 Caroline Wozniacki  96  2%
8 Johanna Konta  340 7%
9 Svetlana Kuznetsova  241 5%
10 Agnieszka Radwanska 341  8%
11 Venus Williams 780  19%
12 Jelena Ostapenko 170 5%
13 Kristina Mladenovic 281 9%
14 Madison Keys 710 23%
15 Garbine Muguruza 71 2%
16 Elena Vesnina  880 30%
17 Petra Kvitova  155  5%
18 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova  432 16%
19 Anastasija Sevastova  191 8%
20 Barbora Strycova  435 21%
21 Caroline Garcia 350 17%

One to watch: Caroline Wozniacki. A junior Wimbledon champion in 2006, the Dane was struggling for form and confidence this time last year. Having since returned to the top 10, Wozniacki has the chance to climb even higher in coming weeks with little points to defend.

Potential big mover: Garbine Muguruza. Last year the Spaniard struggled on grass as she dealt with new-found pressure as a Grand Slam champion. But let’s not forget she is a former Wimbledon finalist, and with only 71 points to defend this year, she could soon return to the world’s top 10.

In trouble: Elena Vesnina. The streaky Russian has a huge 880 points to defend after her Wimbledon semifinal run last year. The fact she’s only recorded four singles wins (and only one over a top 60-ranked opponent) since winning Indian Wells in March only adds to the pressure she must be feeling.

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