4 min read
It's destined to be a women's final for the ages with history on the line for both Ons Jabeur and Marketa Vondrousova. Jabeur, last year's finalist, is determined not to suffer a repeat disappointment, while unseeded Vondrousova is a little surprised to have gotten this far.
Despite Jabeur's weightier accomplishments on paper, Universal Tennis INSIGHTS actually picks Vondrousva to come away with the win. Let's take a closer look at why.
Jabeur's Revenge Road to the Final
One year ago, Jabeur reached the final at Wimbledon only to fall short against Elena Rybakina. This time, she’s determined to write her name in the history books.
The 28-year-old Tunisian is looking to become the first Arab or African to win a Grand Slam singles title. To do it at Wimbledon would be extra special to her – she had a picture of the women's trophy as her phone screensaver.
To get to this championship stage, Jabeur has defeated some big names: Bianca Andreescu, Petra Kvitova, Rybakina, and Aryna Sabalenka.
“This year the draw is much tougher. Playing against amazing players that not only play good on any surface, but they play amazing on grass. That gives me more confidence to be ready for the final,” Jabeur said. "Also getting that rhythm of playing great tennis to be ready for the next match. I want to make my path worth it, winning (against) all these Grand Slam champions to be in the final. I'm going full in, and hopefully, this time it will work.”
“I think also game-wise or tennis-wise, I feel better," Sinner added. "If I have to play the slice, I can play now without thinking. Before was always a little bit different. I can go to the net knowing that I have good volleys. I have some good things now in my game, and hopefully, I can use it in the right way.”
Jabeur dropped the first set in a tiebreak to Rybakina in the quarterfinals but recovered only to repeat the same comeback feat against Sabalenka in the semifinals, winning 6-7(5),6-4, 6-3.
“Crazy match,” Jabeur said. “I’m glad I stayed in it. Twelve months ago for sure I would have lost it. Maybe even six months ago. I’m a different player.”
The Tunisian, nicknamed the "Minster of Happiness", has been a Grand Slam finalist twice, at Wimbledon one year ago and, a few months later, at the US Open (losing to Iga Swiatek).
Vondrousova Rides "Crazy" Ride
Jabeur's opponent on Saturday, Vondrousova, is the first unseeded women’s finalist at the All-England Club in the Open Era (since Billie Jean King in 1963). If Vondrousova wins, she'll become the first unseeded Wimbledon women's champion ever.
The 24-year-old Czech first burst on the scene in 2019 by reaching the Roland Garros final but has had a career plagued by injuries. In fact, this time last year, she had a cast on her left (dominant) wrist after a second surgery.
She's won one WTA title during her career (back in 2017) and was an Olympic silver medalist in 2021. Preferring clay, before this fortnight, her best result on grass was the second round.
Vondrousova has beaten the likes of Donna Vekic, Marie Bouzkova, Jessica Pegula, and Elina Svitolina. Her win over Svitolina, who’s just eight months removed from welcoming her first child, was most impressive with a 6-3, 6-3 scoreline.
(6) Ons Jabeur (12.77) vs. Marketa Vondrousova (12.88)
Jabeurr and Vondrousova have faced off six times in their careers, and are locked at 3-3. In recent meetings, Vondrousova took out the Tunisian at Indian Wells this year and at the Australian Open (an upset at the time with Jabeur seeded No. 2).
INSIGHTS gives the 24-year-old Czech the edge at 56% odds of upsetting Jabeur to win her first Grand Slam. Vondourosva has the higher UTR Ratings, including three-month trending (at 12.88 to 12.78). It’s important to note that Jabeur has had an injury-plagued season (knee and calf problems), while Vondrousva finally appears to be injury-free.
Both know what it's like to deal with injuries and what it feels like fall one step short in a Grand Slam final, making this championship match even more significant.
“We’re both hungry to win,” Jabeur said. "Whoever deserves it more will win.”