One look at the top of the WTA rankings should be enough to let anyone know that opportunity will be knocking at Wimbledon this year. World No. 1 Ash Barty is recovering from a hip injury and hasn’t played on grass this year. No. 2 Naomi Osaka withdrew from the tournament last week. No. 3 Simona Halep also withdrew with a calf injury she suffered in Rome—it’s a shame she won’t have a chance to open up the proceedings on Centre Court as the defending champion. And No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka still hasn’t found the key to unlock her Grand Slam potential.

Who might take advantage of these openings? With 15 former Grand Slam champions in the field, there are a lot of possibilities. Let’s see what hints we can glean from the draw.

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First Quarter

Barty has said that she’s optimistic about her injury, and about moving to grass. While she has never made it past the fourth round at Wimbledon, she says it’s her favorite surface, and her all-court game style does suit it. At the same time, her 5-4 record here shows that she’s not going to be a lock in any match she plays, let alone a heavy favorite to win the title. Barty will start against Carla Suarez Navarro, and could meet Johanna Konta and Barbora Krejcikova in the third and fourth rounds. Krejcikova has won a doubles title at Wimbledon, but has never won a main-draw match there in singles. That could change quickly. Like Barty, she has a game that should work well on grass. But she might face a challenge in her opener against Clara Tauson.

There’s a good deal of talent, and unpredictability, on the other side of this quarter as well. No. 5 seed Bianca Andreescu will start against the woman who beat her in Berlin, Alizé Cornet. Daria Kasatkina and Anett Kontaveit have both been playing well. And Victoria Azarenka is still a second-week threat.

First-round matches to watch:

  • Barty vs. Suarez Navarro
  • Krejcikova vs. Tauson
  • Andreescu vs. Cornet
  • Konta vs. Katerina Siniakova
  • Kontaveit vs. Marketa Vondrousova
  • Jelena Ostapenko vs. Leylah Fernandez
  • Kiki Bertens vs. Marta Kostyuk

Semifinalist: Krejcikova

Barty's slice could prove to be the best weapon in the women's draw.

Barty's slice could prove to be the best weapon in the women's draw.

Second Quarter

The fewer top players there are in the draw, the closer Serena Williams comes to being the favorite. She likely won’t mourn the withdrawals by Halep and Osaka, each of whom has frustrated her in her quest for Slam No. 24 in recent years. But she may have to go through another woman who has beaten her in a couple of major finals, Angelique Kerber. Serena will start against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, and could face Kerber in the third round. Also in this section are No. 5 seed and 2019 semifinalist Elina Svitolina, fast-rising Paula Badosa, Australian Open semifinalist Karolina Muchova, French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Coco Gauff.

Like I said, there are a lot of potential contenders in this draw. Serena can’t afford to have a bad day.

Semifinalist: S. Williams

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Serena has reached the final round in her last two Wimbledon's.

Serena has reached the final round in her last two Wimbledon's.

Third Quarter

Sofia Kenin is the top seed here, and Karolina Pliskova is second, but it’s the third-highest-ranked player in this quarter, Petra Kvitova, who will draw the most eyeballs to start. This field would seem to offer Kvitova, winner here in 2011 and 2014, a golden opportunity to wear the crown for a third time at her favorite tournament. In truth, despite her fearsome reputation at Wimbledon, she hasn’t made the quarters since 2014. But the potential is always there in her huge ground strokes.

Dark horse: Ludmilla Samsanova. The Russian just won a title in Berlin, and could play Kvitova in the third round.

First-round matches to watch:

  • Kvitova vs. Sloane Stephens
  • Pliskova vs. Tamara Zidansek
  • Samsanova vs. Kaia Kanepi
  • Jessica Pegula vs. Caroline Garcia

Semifinalist: Kvitova

Kvitova is coming off a semifinal showing in Bad Homburg, where she fell in a decisive tiebreaker to Angelique Kerber.

Kvitova is coming off a semifinal showing in Bad Homburg, where she fell in a decisive tiebreaker to Angelique Kerber.

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Fourth Quarter

Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek were two of the favorites at Roland Garros, but after failing to make the semifinals there, they would seem to be on shakier ground to start Wimbledon. Each has played two grass-court tune-ups, and neither has made it past the quarters in any of them.

Neither has an easy path into the second week. To start, Swiatek will have to deal with Su-Wei Hsieh’s nightmarishly varied arsenal, and she could meet 2017 champion Garbiñe Muguruza in the fourth round. As for Sabalenka, she’ll open against a qualifier, but French Open semifinalist Maria Sakkari could be a fourth-round obstacle.

First-round matches to watch:

  • Swiatek vs. Su-Wei Hsieh
  • Venus Williams vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu
  • Muguruza vs. Fiona Ferro
  • Elena Rybakina vs. Kiki Mladenovic

Semifinalist: Muguruza

Semifinals: S. Williams d. Krejcikova; Kvitova d. Muguruza

Final: S. Williams d. Kvitova