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Wimbledon: Breaking down the path to the title

(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Wimbledon returns Monday, with Serena Williams making her return to singles competition for the first time since 2021 and Iga Swiatek looking to continue her 35-match winning streak.

Swiatek will open at 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday against qualifier Jana Fett with the opportunity to make history and claim the longest winning streak this century. Her best performance so far at Wimbledon has been a fourth-round run last year.

Just Women’s Sports has broken down the singles draw and come up with three key storylines to follow as the action gets underway.

A friendly draw for Serena Williams

When Williams makes her return to the court at Wimbledon on Tuesday, it will be her first time playing in singles competition since going down with a hamstring in the first round of last year’s tournament.

This year, Williams will begin her journey to the title with a first round match against Harmony Tan. Tan is currently ranked 113th in the world with a career-high ranking of 90. Twice she has reached the round of 64 at a major, with the most recent coming at the Australian Open this year.

Later in the draw, if Williams beats Tan, she could face Sara Sorribes Tormo or fellow American Christina McHale. In the third round, sixth-seed Karolina Pliskova could await Williams.

Also in Williams’ quarter is Coco Gauff. The potential fourth-round matchup would be exciting, as Gauff is coming off of her first major final at the French Open.

Fourth-seeded Paula Badosa headlines Williams’ grouping.

A stacked quarter for Garbiñe Muguruza

No. 9 seed Garbine Muguruza may have gotten one of the toughest draws of the grouping. She opens Tuesday against Greet Minnen.

Also in her quarter are 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and Zheng Qinwen – the only player to take a set from Swiatek in Paris. She struggled with an injury that match but could be a difficult draw for whomever she faces at Wimbledon. Zheng already has one win over Stephens this season, getting the better of the American in Charleston, but she hasn’t yet won on grass professionally.

Should Muguruza advance to the third round, she could face either No. 17 Elena Rybakina or 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu. Andreescu reached her first semifinal and final in more than a year (and her first ever on grass) at the Bad Homburg Open and appears to be rolling heading into Wimbledon.

Also in the quarter is No. 8 Jessica Pegula, who could be a tough fourth-round matchup should both advance past their opponents in the earlier rounds.

How healthy is Emma Raducanu?

After making headlines at last year’s Wimbledon tournament, Emma Raducanu had a stellar run at the U.S. Open for her first Grand Slam.

But since September, the English 19-year-old has struggled with injuries. In January, a blister on her finger led to a loss in the Australian Open. Then a leg injury forced her to retire in Mexico in the first round. At Indian Wells, she retired in the first round due to a stiff back while a foot blister in the Billie Jean King Cup led to a loss.

She withdrew from the Italian Open in May with back pain.

In early June, Raducanu suffered a “freak injury” that left her unsure of her status for Wimbledon. She later said that she would compete in the English Slam after scans revealed the injury wasn’t serious. Regardless, her health remains a large question mark as the tournament begins.

Entering Wimbledon, she’s the No. 10 seed and in the same quarter as No. 7 Danielle Collins. A possible matchup with Madison Keys awaits her in the second round.