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Title and number one spot woo Wimbledon's women

media Angelique Kerber lost in the 2016 Wimbledon final to Serena Williams. Reuters/Tony O'Brien

The twin highs of the Wimbledon singles crown and top spot in the world rankings are on offer for a handful of the 16 women who enter the second week of competition at the tournament.

Angelique Kerber, the runner-up to Serena Williams last year, will maintain her status as world number one so long as she progresses to the final. If she falters before the showdown on 15 July, she will be supplanted by either Simona Halep or even Karolina Pliskova despite the Czech having been knocked out in the second round.

Kerber’s path to glory will not be simple. The 28-year-old German will take on the 2015 runner-up Garbine Muguruza on 10 July in the last 16 having battled from a set down to beat the unseeded American Shelby Rogers in the third round on 8 July.

Muguruza, seeded 14th, has cruised into the fourth round without dropping a set. It is a surge that has surprised the 23-year-old Spaniard.

"I never feel that comfortable on grass,” said the 2016 French Open champion. “Every time I start the grass season, I'm like: ‘How the hell did I reach that final at Wimbledon two years ago?"

The omens are not favourable for Kerber. Muguruza has won their last four matches after losing the previous three of their encounters.

Victoria Azarenka, bidding to become the first mother to win Wimbledon in 37 years, faces the second seed Simona Halep.

Former world number one and two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka is playing in her first Grand Slam since giving birth to son, Leo, last December.

In all, the women's last 16 features seven Grand Slam winners and seven playing in the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time.

Two of the debutantes are Johanna Konta, the sixth seed and 21st seed Caroline Garcia who face each other.

Konta is looking to be the first British woman in the quarter-finals for 33 years while 23-year-old Garcia will be attempting to make her second successive appearance in the last eight of a Grand Slam following her run in front of her home fans in Paris at the French Open in June.

That tournament was ultimately claimed by Jelena Ostapenko. The 20-year-old Latvian was the surprise package in Paris. And at Wimbledon, she has form. She won the girl’s title in 2014 and buoyed by her success in Paris, will be prepared for the likely slugathon with the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.

Another battle of last 16 first timers pits Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova against Petra Martic of Croatia.

Martic, who is the last qualifier in the tournament, is repeating her Parisian feats where she reached the fourth round after also coming through the qualifying event.

Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2012 runner-up, tackles former French and US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Five-time champion Venus Williams is, at 37, the sentimental favourite. The grand old lady will play the 19-year-old Croatian Ana Konjuh who was born six months after the American made her debut at the All England Club in 1997.

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