There will be a first-time slam winner in the Ladies Singles at Wimbledon with Ons Jabeur and Elena Rybakina facing off on Centre Court on Saturday afternoon. While Jabeur was considered one of those best placed to take advantage should Iga Swiatek lose, Rybakina making it to this stage comes as far more of a surprise.
Rybakina’s power game served her well against Simona Halep, dominating the Romanian from the start in a 6-3 6-3 win. She set the tempo by breaking in her first return game in both sets, serving well for large parts. While the ace leader on tour added five more aces, Halep had a disastrous day on serve with nine double faults. Getting a convincing win over Halep should also silence a few of the doubts that were had over Rybakina’s place here following a fairly comfortable route to the semis.
It wasn’t as straight forward for Jabeur against Tatjana Maria, with three sets needed to advance against the German 6-2 3-6 6-1. After a little too much caution in the second set, the No.3 seed reverted to a more aggressive style in the decider which served her well with Maria unable to handle things as well. “I just love everything around here, the atmosphere and everything. It was my main goal from the beginning of the season, and even from last year. Everything about the energy, I just love being here.” she said after.
“She serves really well, so my main goal is to return as much balls as I can, to make her really work hard to win the point. I know she can hit really hard and hit a lot of winners. I know that my game could really bother her. I really try to focus more on myself, do a lot of slices, try to really make her work hard.” Jabeur said on the game of Rybakina.
If the Kazakh can continue striking the ball as well as she has this fortnight, she does have the chance to pick up the shock win here. Meanwhile, Jabeur should offer far more variety in return while also being able to match Rybakina when it comes to power tennis. Jabeur won both their matches last year but this will be the first time these two have met on grass.
Prediction – Ons Jabeur in three sets