Last year’s runner-up Ons Jabeur takes on World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals of The Championships Wimbledon 2023 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) in London on Thursday.
The match is scheduled to take place after the first semifinal between Elina Svitolina and Marketa Vondrousova on on Centre Court on the 11th day of this year’s edition.
When and where to watch?
Sixth-seeded Tunisian Jabeur enters semifinals after two spectacular wins over players who had previously beaten her at the grass Major. She defeated two-time winner Petra Kvitova 6-0, 6-3 in the round of 16, avenging the first-round loss from 2019.
However, her biggest win came in the quarterfinal against defending champion Elena Rybakina. The third-seeded Kazakh had beaten Jabeur in the 2022 final, stopping her from becoming the first-ever African woman to win a Major. On Wednesday, Jabeur lost the opening set 6-7(5) but roared back to take the second 6-4 before thrashing her opponent 6-1 in the decider.
Jabeur, who also reached the US Open final in 2022, has one of the best drop shots on the WTA Tour. Her flat forehand shots also become a big weapon on grass.
Sabalenka is having the season of her life. After struggling with her serve in 2022, the second-seeded has massively improved this year. She started 2023 with a 13-match winning streak, including her maiden Slam title at the Australian Open. At Wimbledon, she has cruised past every opponent except Frenchwoman Varvara Gracheva, who took her to three sets in the second round.
In the quarterfinals, Sabalenka came from 2-4 down in the second set to defeat 25th-seeded American Madison Keys 6-2, 6-4 to reach her second semifinal at the grass Major after 2021. She missed last edition of the tournament due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
With her brutal power and athleticism, Sabalenka would be a major threat against Jabeur.
If Sabalenka wins on Thursday, she will overtake Iga Swiatek and become the new World No. 1 when the WTA Rankings will be released on Monday. For Jabeur, victory would make her the first player to defeat three Top 10 opponents at Wimbledon since Serena Williams in 2012 and send her through to her third Grand Slam singles final.
Played: 4 | Jabeur: 1 | Sabalenka: 3
The head-to-head record between Jabeur and Sabalenka stands at 1-3 in the Belarusian’s favour. One of their four meetings took place at Wimbledon two years ago when Sabalenka won in straight sets.
|2022||WTA FINALS||ROUND ROBIN||SABALENKA||3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5|
|2021||WTA 500 ABU DHABI||THIRD ROUND||SABALENKA||6-2, 6-4|
|2020||FRENCH OPEN||THIRD ROUND||JABEUR||7-6(7), 2-6, 6-3|
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