Tennis – 5 Ladies to watch during the Grass Court season

Willho2 (Tweener) looks ahead to the tennis grass court season and he picks out 5 players in the Ladies singles that could make an impact over the next 5 weeks.

The aim of the list is to highlight some players which should provide value plays over the next month.  These players listed below should thrive on the unique grass court environment. Although grass courts have slowed tremendously in the past decade, there are still some players which thrive on it and some which struggle on it.  The players below should provide us with a good run of our money over the next month.

Alison Riske (Ranking - 89)

Riske game is suited perfectly to the grass. Her shots are very flat which stays low on this surface and she is very handy at the net.  This is reflected by her results on grass.  She has just won the Eastbourne ITF event last week and she has reached the semi-finals in both Nottingham and Birmingham main tour events on grass last year. Her record on grass since the beginning of her career is 42W-20L which is very good for someone of her ranking, for comparison, her overall record to date is 238W and 185L. We should see her thrive over the next month or so.

Zarina Diyas (Ranking - 95)

Diyas is another player who should do well over the next month even though she had to pull out of Nottingham with injury today.  I hope it’s a minor issue.  She does not possess the variety or the bigger game that the others possess; however she is excellent off the ground on this surface.  She stays very low with the ball and it is very hard to out rally her.

She has reached the 4th round of Wimbledon twice and lost in the final of Nottingham to Pliskova, who is a formidable opponent on grass with her serve.  Ziyas has beaten the likes of Petkovic, Pennetta, Mladenovic on this surface and her Win/Loss record is 32W-13L on grass which again is very good for someone with her ranking.

Ashleigh Barty (Ranking 623)

Barty has recently returned to tour after taking a career break from tennis to play cricket; she was even involved in the Australia Big Bash recently!  People talk about Bencic as the modern day Hingis but to me, Barty is the closest we have to Hingis since Bencic has that extra power that modern player needs.

Barty is a throwback player to the old days.  She is solid off both wings, she can volley and has excellent court craft. All of these elements are excellent for grass and this is arguably her best surface since she do not defend that well, nor does she have possess much power.  She is also a very successful doubles player and before she took her career break at the grand old age of 18, she was a beaten finalist at Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open in doubles and she also won junior Wimbledon singles in 2011.  These results shows this girl has talent and great hands.   She was a losing semi finalist last week in Eastbourne and has qualified for Nottingham this week.  I expect her to go deep this week until she play an inform power hitter who will be able to hit her off court.  Expect her to do well over the next weeks.

Tara Moore (Ranking 280)

If someone ask a tennis fan to pick a British female to look out for over the next few months, the majority might say Heather Watson or Laura Robson or even Naomi Broady who has an excellent first delivery (Robson has an excellent game for grass and if she can pick up a couple of wins, be very weary of her)  However, I have decided to go with Tara Moore who should be to strike while she is still in form and with other players making the transition to grass.  She was a losing finalist in Eastbourne last week to the after mentioned Riske in a very tight match.  She has gone through qualifying easily this week and as long as fatigue do not catch up with her, she should perform way above her ranking over the next weeks.

Jelena Ostapenko (Ranking 39)

The final slot was a difficult one, Konjuh would have made the shortlist if she didn’t get injured last week and Kontaveit is another player who should do well over the next few weeks. However, Ostapenko is the player with the highest potential.  She has had an excellent start to 2016 season already with a final appearance in Doha and her career trajectory should continue upwards.  She was a junior Wimbledon champion and even though her record on the grass has not been great. She has all the necessary tools to excel on this surface.  She has a good serve and her forehand is one of the best on tour, the upcoming grass court season should be fruitful for the Latvian.