Wimbledon 2024: Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner set to renew rivalry amid Novak Djokovic threat; Will Iga Swiatek step up? | Tennis News

Wimbledon 2024: Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner set to renew rivalry amid Novak Djokovic threat; Will Iga Swiatek step up? | Tennis News

The 137th edition of the Wimbledon Championships is all set to get underway at the All England Club in London on Monday, with Carlos Alcaraz defending the men’s singles title, while Marketa Vondrousova, who became the first unseeded player to lift the trophy last year, will be aiming to retain the women’s singles crown. Alcaraz, fresh from his maiden French Open win last month, will be facing stiff competition from reigning Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner and seven-time Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic, while WTA world no. 1 Iga Swiatek will be aiming to improve her Wimbledon performance amid competition from Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina, and Coco Gauff.

Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner are in the same half on the men's singles draw
Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner are in the same half on the men’s singles draw

Ahead of the start of the 2024 edition of the Wimbledon Championships, we take a look at both the singles draw and give our prediction for title winners…

Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner set to renew rivalry

The 2024 season has given yet another glimpse of a long-awaited changing of the guard, with Alcaraz and Sinner sharing the first two Grand Slams. The Italian took down Djokovic in a four-setter in the Australian Open semis en route to his maiden major, while Alcaraz beat the 22-year-old in the French Open semifinal before becoming the youngest man ever to win on all three surfaces.

Both have been drawn on the same side of the men’s singles draw, implying that their first meeting in a Slam final will have to wait.

Sinner, the top seed, finds himself in the top quarter, and has been handed a fairly tough draw. He will begin his campaign against Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann and could face 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini, who reached the Stuttgart final two weeks back, in the second round. The world No. 1 is then projected to face 21-year-old American Ben Shelton in the fourth round, and 2023 semi-finalist Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-final.

Alcaraz, the third seed, is in the next quarter, faces no serious threat until an out-of-form Frances Tiafoe in the third round, Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the fourth and Casper Ruud in the quarters.

If Sinner and Alcaraz make it past their respective quarters, fans are in for a blockbuster semifinal clash on Centre Court. The Spaniard currently leads the head-to-head tie 5-4, including victories in their 2024 clashes. However, Sinner emerged on top in their only meeting on grass in 2022 Wimbledon.

Is Novak Djokovic a threat?

Only three weeks back, the Serb underwent a knee procedure after pulling out of the quarterfinal tie in the French Open. There were doubts about his participation, but the 24-time Grand Slam winner is not ready to wave the white flag yet. Having gone through a rare title drought through the opening half of the season, Djokovic is back to his favourite venue, where he lifted seven titles and was close to a record-equalling eighth before falling agonisingly short in the final last year against Alcaraz.

Djokovic has been given a fairly manageable draw, at least one certain to take him through to the second week without putting his knee at risk. However, he has a possible fourth-round encounter with Holger Rune, and could face Hubert Hurkacz, Halle Open finalist last week, in the quarterfinal.

Iga Swiatek ready for maiden Wimbledon title?

The Pole has single-handedly dominated the WTA tour over the last two years, winning five Grand Slam titles, including a three-peat at the Roland Garros and a US Open title haul in 2022. Not to forget, she won the last three big tournaments – Madrid, Rome, Paris. Yet, she might not quite be the favourite at the Wimbledon 2024.

Why? She never made it past the quarterfinals at the SW19, with 2023 being the only edition where she went through to the second week in the Slam. She is 9-4 at the Wimbledon, compared to 35-2 at the Roland Garros. Moreover, Swiatek, open her campaign against former Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin, is projected to face Jelena Ostapenko, against whom she is 0-4, in the fourth round and 2022 Wimbledon winner Rybakina, against whom she has a 2-4 record, in the semis. She could also face former champion Angelique Kerber in the third round, and last year’s winner, Marketa Vondrousova, in the quarters.

What about Sabalenka, Gauff and Rybakina?

Rybakina sits a quarter below Swiatek, and has been handed a comfortable draw. Should she stay fit, the Kazakh could overcome the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Leylah Fernandez, Anna Kalinskaya and even Jessica Pegula, the winner of the Berlin title last month. However, she could run into two-time finalist Ons Jabeur, who had avenged his 2022 loss in the quarters last year in a three-setter.

Sabalenka, a two-time semifinalist, who is struggling through an injury, only has Mirra Andreeva as her concern. The young Russian had beat her in the French Open and could look for a second straight victory in the Wimbledon pre-quarters. For Gauff, who is yet to make the second week at the SW19, has Madison Keys, Naomi Osaka, and Victoria Azarenka in her quarter.

Who will win Wimbledon 2024?

If Rybakina can stay fit, fans are in for another showdown between the former champion and good friend Sabalenka in the final. Their last Slam meeting was in the 2023 Australian Open final, where Rybakina conceded the trophy after going a set up. Sabalenka also won their only meeting on grass court, in the round of 16 of the 2021 Wimbledon.

In the men’s draw, you want to say Alcaraz, but he is yet to follow a big win with another. This could only suggest a Sinner-Djokovic showdown, if the latter shows no concerns about his knee.

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