Wimbledon 2018: Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova among contenders for maiden Grand Slam title

From Grand Slam finalists to burgeoning stars in the women’s game, we profile five players ready to win a maiden major title at Wimbledon.

We’re once again set for one of the most open ladies’ singles events at Wimbledon this July, with no clear-cut favourite heading to the All England Club.

With Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep winning their maiden Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and French Open this year respectively, could another first-time Grand Slam champion could be crowned on July 14?

Here are five possible contenders who could break their duck on the major stage and win at Wimbledon…

Elina Svitolina

The world No 5 is putting together a stellar year that has seen her bag three titles including successfully defending her Italian Open title last month. Victory in Rome meant the consistent Ukrainian headed into the French Open as one of the favourites to win her first Grand Slam event.

She was surprisingly beaten in the third round by Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. It was evident the weight of expectations proved too much for the 23-year-old.

Svitolina’s best effort at Wimbledon came last year when she reached the fourth round before being defeated by former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The Ukrainian will need to have the tournament of her life in order to add a fourth title of the year to her mantlepiece.

Caroline Garcia

In 2011 Andy Murray tweeted “The girl [Maria] Sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day. Caroline Garcia, what a player, you heard it here first”.

A then 17-year-old, Garcia was announcing herself to the world – at the French Open – as an exciting shot-making French talent who had all the tools to reach the very top of the women’s game.

Seven years on and Garcia has reached a career high of world No 5 this year and become a mainstay in the top 10. With no titles to her name this year, Garcia has made semi-final appearances in Madrid and Stuttgart.

Beaten by Britain’s Johanna Konta last year at Wimbledon in the fourth round, Garcia will be hoping to live up to Murray’s tweet seven years ago and go all the way at SW19.

Karolina Pliskova

The former world No 1 Czech player has failed to get past the second round in eight appearances at the All England Club.

Having won the grass-court title at Eastbourne last year, Pliskova went into Wimbledon hoping to assert herself on the women’s draw but things did not go to plan for the 26-year-old.

Pliskova has a game-style that matches up well with grass-court tennis. She possesses powerful groundstrokes and a huge serve but somehow her game has failed to manifest itself well at Wimbledon.

Could this be the tournament where it finally clicks for the talented Czech player?

Madison Keys

Madison Keys has already experienced what it is like to play on the final Saturday of a Grand Slam when she lost to fellow American and close friend Sloane Stevens in the US Open final last year at Flushing Meadows.

She was beaten again by Stevens in the semi-final of the French Open this year but all signs point to the world No 10 moving closer to winning her first Grand Slam title in the not too distant future.

Keys’ best showing at Wimbledon came in 2015 where she lost in the quarter-finals to former finalist, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.

American tennis is currently celebrating a resurgence of players breaking through not only in the women’s game but in the men’s sphere too. Many have tipped Keys to become a future multiple Grand Slam champion and there will be no better way to get that ball rolling than during this fortnight of action.

Daria Kasatkina

The 21-year-old Russian game has been compared to the artistry of former player Fabrice Santoro. The Russian is having a breakthrough year that has seen her make the final of Indian Wells and the quarter-finals of the French Open.

She has beaten current world No 2 and Australian Open champion Wozniacki three times this year, as well as German player Angelique Kerber and seven-time grand slam champion, Venus Williams.

She has all the ingredients of becoming a future star in women’s tennis and would only need to gain inspiration at the achievements of Latvian Ostpenko, who shocked the world last year by winning the French Open with a fearless mentality accompanied with her attacking game style.

Kasatkina has a bold brand of tennis and will be looking to cause a few more shocks on her route to a possible Wimbledon triumph.

We will keep you up to date with all the news ahead of Wimbledon including our live blogs once the action gets underway on July 2.

Our next tennis action comes from the German Open in Hamburg. Watch the action live on Sky Sports Arena from Monday, July 23 from 10am.

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