Ons Jabeur vs. Elena Rybakina: And then there were two… It’s always exciting when there is a guarantee that there will be a new Slam champ. Jabeur dropped another set in the semis. The takeaway though is how she has reacted to adversity at this tournament and once again, she came through with flying colours. Rybakina delivered her best display of the tournament in the semis, producing a flawless display to snap Halep’s SW19 streak. Serve, groundies, mental game too. All was on song.
In their head-to-head, Jabeur leads Rybakina, 2-1. Their most recent match ended with a Rybakina retirement in Chicago. Their two prior matches both went the distance. I was in such a quandary when I did my predictions at the start of the tournament. Kerber or Jabeur. I was nearly swayed last minute because I was so convinced by the way Ons was speaking before the tournament that she felt like this was her time. I believed her… but still went for Angie like a fool 😂. Anyway, i’m still thinking back to that pre-tournament press conference.
As I always write for matches that feature new situations for players, so much will be decided by who handles the occasion better. Wary of the Rybakina threat. She was awesome against Halep. I do think there’s an argument that Jabeur has the game style to disrupt Rybakina’s rhythm. I think Rybakina had a nice ball to work with against Halep and it was all pretty much at one level. That won’t be the case against Jabeur is who is going to mix it up with slices, changes in pace, drop shots and all that jazz. Yep, i’m going for Ons to win the whole caboodle.
Day 11 Previews
Ons Jabeur vs. Tatjana Maria: This should be a fun time. I’m excited for the Centre Court crowd to see something a bit different. Slices anyone? Expect a great handshake too as these two are good pals. Jabeur leads Maria, 2-1 in their H2H but they haven’t played since 2018. Two of their previous matches were in qualifying. A first Slam final beckons for the winner. Jabeur spoke a good game in press before the tournament and has been backing it up with each match on the court. There have been some tricky moments in her last two matches and she has risen to the occasion. I’m going for Ons in two.
Simona Halep vs. Elena Rybakina: This is a great match-up and i’ve got high hopes for this as a contest. Dubai 2020 final. Halep won, 3-6 6-3 7-6(5), in one of the best matches of the year. US Open 2021. Halep won, 7-6(11) 4-6 6-3, in another memorable match. I remember that crazy first set tiebreak! Halep has been so sharp this tournament but yet to be battle tested. I’d be surprised (famous last words) if this was a beatdown as I think Rybakina’s serve will keep her in contention. I’m going for Simona in three.
Day 10 Previews
Simona Halep vs. Amanda Anisimova: Yes please. Pick of the quarter-finals. The pair played just two weeks ago in Bad Homburg. Halep cruised to the win, 6-2 6-1. This match-up has quite a lot of significance as Anisimova beat Halep, 6-2 6-4, en route to her first Slam semi-final at Roland Garros back in 2019. Halep’s two wins over Anisimova have both been beatdowns. What i’d give for a close match where they are both playing well at the same time!
Both players have been in scintillating form at these Champs. In the last round, Halep crushed Badosa in an hour, while Anisimova powered past Tan, a match that could so easily have been a banana skin for AA. I’m not sure how much to read into the Bad Homburg match. Anisimova said in press that she was feeling her wrist in that match and Halep was pretty dismissive too about its significance. I’m going to take a punt on this one. It feels like a punt because how can I go against Halep when she’s been sooo good at this tournament?! I’ve always admired Anisimova’s game and thought that she is the real deal. Just a sneaky feeling she’s going to catch a hot streak on the big stage again. I’m going for Anisimova.
Elena Rybakina vs. Ajla Tomljanovic: A first Slam semi-final is on the line for Rybakina and Tomljanovic. Rybakina won their only previous meeting in Madrid, 6-4 6-0 in 2021. Tomljanovic has shown a lot of heart and spirit in her last two matches. She’ll need all of that to topple Rybakina who is rounding into some of her best form of the season. Rybakina has yet to drop a set at this tournament and has been clinical in all of the tight sets she has played. I think Rybakina does everything a bit better. Rybakina in 2.
Day 9 Previews
Ons Jabeur vs. Marie Bouzkova: Looooving this match-up! A real feel-good time. It’s also a time to ring the bells because it’s a first time meeting. Bouzkova has been absolutely brilliant at this tournament. Unrivalled defence, making so few errors, serving well and taking opportunities to attack when they present themselves. Jabeur had a moment in her fourth round match against Mertens, saving five set points in clutch fashion to win the first set. It was one of the best quality matches of the entire tournament.
I would definitely point some significance to that Mertens win for Ons. There’s a lot of pressure because the draw is so open but she’s handling it well so far. Bouzkova is not an easy match at all despite the Czech player’s ranking and lack of experience at this stage. Ons will have to play a high level match and I tend to think she’s going to rise to the occasion again.
Jule Niemeier vs. Tatjana Maria: We know what to expect as fans of women’s tennis. Even this match-up has blown my mind at the quarter-final stage of a Slam. And it’s a great story with two German players going up against each other at opposite ends of their career. Maria has chopped up Sakkari and Ostapenko en route to the last eight and is playing with house money having saved a pair of match points against Ostapenko. Niemeier knocked out the number two seed, Anett Kontaveit, in the second round and has looked surprisingly assured in her first outing on the top two show courts.
It’s yet another ding ding ding first time meeting. And a completely new situation for both players. I think it will simply come down to who handles the occasion and their nerves better. Maria’s game is not the type of game you want to go up against when you’re feeling nervous. I think it’s pretty much a coin toss. If I had to pick, I would give the slightest of edges to Niemeier because of how composed she was playing Kontaveit on No.1 and then against a Brit on Centre Court.
Day 8 Previews
Simona Halep vs. Paula Badosa: Match of the round. Neither Halep or Badosa are yet to drop a set this tournament. Their match in Madrid was memorable in that Halep delivered a statement performance to beat Badosa handily, 6-3 6-1. I think Badosa was dealing with a physical issue in that match but I don’t think it would have affected the result. I got the sense from Badosa’s press conference after her win over Kvitova that that match still plays in her mind. When asked about her chances going forward, she spoke up about how tough her draw was.
I completely overlooked Badosa against Kvitova. If she plays like she did against Petra then holy moly we have a match on our hands. I’m picking Halep who I think might have Badosa’s number. Does Paula believe she can beat Simona?
Amanda Anisimova vs. Harmony Tan: Slightly terrified for Anisimova going up against Tan. All the slices and spins. It’s going to be a difficult match. Anisimova has beaten Tan before at the French Open three years ago and she should know what to expect as it’s not like Tan has gone under-the-radar this week. I have faith in Anisimova that she can solve the Tan riddle!
Alizé Cornet vs. Ajla Tomljanovic: The pair are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head. Tomljanovic beat Cornet in the second round of Wimbledon last year, 6-4 0-6 6-3. Really impressed with both players in their third round wins. Slightly worried about Cornet’s heavily strapped legs (remember what happened at the French) but she’s been a different player at the Slams this year. Going on instinct. I think Cornet wins this.
Elena Rybakina vs. Petra Martic: In their only previous meeting, Rybakina beat Martic, 7-6(5) 7-6(2) in Dubai in 2020. I’ve barely watched any of Martic this tournament so difficult to really comment. She has the type of game that can disrupt a big hitter like Rybakina. Rybakina is the only seed remaining in this top quarter and will be the favourite to progress. Can she convert on this golden opportunity and reach a first Slam semi-final? I’m on the fence.
Day 7 Previews
Caroline Garcia vs. Marie Bouzkova: This feels like ultimate aggression going up against ultimate defence and something has to give! Of all four matches on day 7, this is the one that i’m most on the fence with. Normally I’d favour the big hitter on grass. Bouzkova though has been so difficult to get the ball past and brings this relentless intensity on every single point. A little worried about the strapping on both thighs for Garcia and how the body is holding up. I’m going for Bouzkova to reach her first Slam quarter-final.
Ons Jabeur vs. Elise Mertens: Surprisingly, this is the match where i’m most confident! I’m so sorry Ons 😂. Mertens won their only previous match at last year’s US Open in straight sets. I think it will be Ons’s toughest match of the tournament. That’s not saying much because she’s danced through up till now. Mertens has been incredibly reliable at reaching the third and fourth rounds of Slams. It’s taking that next step that i’m not convinced by yet. Ons for the win.
Heather Watson vs. Jule Niemeier: What an incredible opportunity for both players to reach a Slam quarter-final! The pair have played before and Watson spoke about it in press. She told her team after the match that Niemeier would be top 100 soon. Watson won that match in Monterrey, 6-3 2-6 7-6(4). I was pleasantly surprised how Watson handled the occasion serving out against Juvan. I know there was a bit of a wobble at the end in the score but I thought that was mostly due to Juvan raising her level. This is a 50-50 match. It will be a nervy affair and it will come down to holds their nerve. Rooting for Hev!
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Tatjana Maria: I am HERE with my beady eyes to see if Maria can slice and dice Ostapenko up 👀. There’s no data to go on and ding ding ding it’s a first time meeting! Ostapenko the favourite. But would anyone really be surprised if Ostapenko implodes?
Day 6 Previews
Paula Badosa vs. Petra Kvitova: Oof this is an exciting match-up for the third round. I’m especially interested because I briefly saw Paula and Petra practising together in Eastbourne! Badosa looked lost in Eastbourne in a lacklustre one-sided loss to Burrage in Easty. Badosa has bounced back nicely with two straight set wins over Chirico and Bara. Kvitova is riding a seven match winning streak from Eastbourne. Her two matches at Wimby have had their moments! Against Bogdan, there was a set and a half of Peak Petra and half a set of hiding behind the sofa.
In their only previous match, Kvitova beat Badosa at the Australian Open in 2020, 7-5 7-5. That was before Badosa really became relevant. I’m still not convinced by Badosa despite two comfortable wins. There have been sightings of Peak Petra but they’ve been fleeting so far at SW19. Happy to have egg on my face after this one… I’m going for Petra to win this comfortably in straights.
Coco Gauff vs. Amanda Anisimova: I’m not sure what the quality will be like but I just want to see it with my eyes. Anisimova has had such an impressive year. She has now reached at least the third round of all the Slams this year and had a real test against Lauren Davis in the second round, coming from a set down. Those types of wins are the most valuable and I think AA has completely gone under-the-radar so far this week. I thought she was struggling with her wrist in Bad Homburg?
Gauff had a much-improved performance in the second round against Buzarnescu. Her serve was impeccable and she hit the fastest serve of the tournament so far! I’m really interested by that dynamic in this match because Anisimova has one of the most potent returns and I’m keen to see whether she can force some pressure on Gauff’s serve.
Gauff beat Anisimova in their only previous match, 6-3 6-3 in Parma last year on the clay. I haven’t figured out whether Anisimova and grass are a match yet. Gauff the favourite. Anisimova is lurking in the shadows. Tough one to call. I’m going to stick with my finalist, Gauff. I won’t be surprised at all if Anisimova wins this.
Day 5 Previews
Alison Riske-Amritaj vs. Marie Bouzkova: Just the thought of this match-up brings a smile to my face. I like both Riske and Bouzkova, and it’s a ding ding ding first time meeting! Bouzkova rallied from a set down in her first match against Collins and then raced past Ann Li in the second round. Riske was tested early doors against Chwalinska before comfortably coming through in three sets in the second round. I think this is going to be a good match. A close one. I think three sets. Pretty close to 50-50. Edging to Riske just with her previous Wimbledon experience.
Zhang Shuai vs. Caroline Garcia: Both Zhang and Garcia have reached the second week of Wimbledon before and this is a golden opportunity for one of them to do it again. Zhang leads Garcia, 2-1 in their H2H and won earlier this year in Lyon. Garcia is the form player and is riding a seven match winning streak after winning Bad Homburg and then ending Raducanu’s run in the second round. Garcia is probably the favourite on form. CarGar still makes me nervous. I like Zhang on grass and I think she’s underrated. She can come along out of nowhere and play a brilliant match. Zhang for the win.
Jule Niemeier vs. Lesia Tsurenko: Like above, a golden opportunity for Niemeier and Tsurenko to reach the second week of Wimbledon for the first time in her career. For Niemeier, she’s already broken new ground by reaching the third round of a Slam for the first time in her career. I’m going for Niemeier after watching her play against Kontaveit and because of how ruthless, obviously with some help, she was in closing out that win over the number two seed. Tsurenko’s on a rich vein of form but I’m still worried about that elbow and even more so after another three setter in the second round.
Day 3 Previews
Emma Raducanu vs. Caroline Garcia: For the second straight match, Raducanu faces the rare occasion of playing someone she has already played before and beaten. Raducanu defeated Garcia earlier this year at Indian Wells, 6-1 3-6 6-1. It’s also similar in that she’s going up against one of the in-form players on grass. Garcia won Bad Homburg on Saturday and then beat Miyazaki in the first round on Monday in a third set tiebreak. That’s six wins in a row for Garcia and five consecutive three set wins too so confidence is high! I’m guessing the body is sore though and Garcia was sporting strapping on both legs on Monday. Still a lot of uncertainty with Raducanu and I thought it was hard to gauge her level because Van Uytvanck didn’t have a good day at the office. I’m feeling patriotic so I’m going for Raducanu! I think it’s another match where the crowd could have an impact.
Angelique Kerber vs. Magda Linette: Kerber won their only previous meeting which was just last month in Strasbourg, 6-2 4-6 6-4. I’m surprised they’ve only played once! I’ve said it over and over again that Linette is a decent player and much better IMO than her current ranking of 65. Linette knocked out Svitolina at this stage of Wimbledon last year. Kerber did get a little passive at times in her first-round win over Mladenovic. I don’t think she will get away with it against Linette. Kerber’s my champ so obviously sticking with Angie. I think this will be a significant test.
Alison Riske vs. Maja Chwalinska: Wednesday’s hipster match of the day! I watched Chwalinska for the first time on Monday and she was super impressive. Beating Siniakova in straights sets on grass is a feat. Her game seems beautifully suited to the grass with slices off both wings. Step forward, Ali Riske who also loves the grass. Riske has all the experience. Chwalinska has the unknown quantity factor. I’m going for Riske who I’ve got to the quarters in my draw. Definitely wary of the threat that Chwalinska poses. Heading to Wimby on Wednesday so this is top of my list for outside court matches which is where I think it will be!
Anhelina Kalinina vs. Lesia Tsurenko: A first time meeting for this all-Ukrainian match-up. Kalinina’s story has gained some traction on the BBC Sport website here. Kalinina has had a great season, still somewhat under-the-radar, including four top 20 wins. Tsurenko is also building some form. A straight sets win over Burrage was her eighth win on grass. I think Kalinina is the safer pick IMO as Tsurenko has continually been plagued by her elbow which was the reason for her withdrawal last week in Eastbourne.
Day 2 Previews
Yulia Putintseva vs. Alizé Cornet: Here for the drama. Actually, i’ve found all the recent hyped up potential drama matches haven’t lived up to their billing so we’ll see with this one. I had no hesitation in picking Cornet for this match. She’s quietly had some decent results on grass in the past few years. I then looked at the H2H which is 3-0 Cornet which included a double bagel (!) in New Haven in 2017. Mind made up.
Jil Teichmann vs. Ajla Tomljanovic: This is a tough opener. Tomljanovic is the favourite with the bookies which I can understand with Ajla clearly more comfortable on the grass. Teichmann has had two tight matches on the grass, losing out to both Saville and Dart. One of those matches where there’s a clear upset alert but for some reason I think the seed, in this case Teichmann, will prevail.
Sloane Stephens vs. Zheng Qinwen: See draw preview. Zheng won earlier this year in Charleston, 6-3 4-6 6-0. I’m not sure about Zheng on grass yet and i’ve learned not to read ANYTHING into Sloane’s pre-Slam form 😂. In fact, Sloane has reached at least the third round at four of her past five Slams. Going for Sloane.
Elena Rybakina vs. Coco Vandeweghe: Coco with the lucky loser spot. A dangerous opener for Rybakina who i’m not convinced by at all at the moment.
Shelby Rogers vs. Petra Martic: These two played doubles together at Roland Garros. Martic has lost her last four matches on tour. Rogers has had some good wins scattered throughout the year but not really been able to consolidate into many meaningful runs. On grass, i’m favouring Rogers.
Jessica Pegula vs. Donna Vekic: See draw preview. Going for the upset with this one. Vekic has had a lot of matches on grass and there’s still uncertainty around whether Pegula will play.
Paula Badosa vs. Louisa Chirico: I thought Badosa was subdued in Eastbourne and then she looked really out-of-sorts in a straight sets loss to Burrage. It’s great to see Chirico back who is a bit of a blast from the past! I think Badosa is vulnerable. Not sure Chirico can pull off the upset?
Camila Giorgi vs. Magdalen Frech: I’m looking forward to this match. I’ve been really impressed with Frech whenever I watch her this year. Giorgi looked very content at Eastbourne and her strokes are made for the grass. Frech one to watch. Giorgi for the win.
Simona Halep vs. Karolina Muchova: See draw preview. Match of the day despite uncertainty around both players. I’d love to go for Muchova. Not convinced by that ankle though.
Katie Boulter vs. Clara Burel: A great draw for Boulter and she’s the heavy favourite, a different dynamic to all her matches on grass so far. I hope she doesn’t overthink it!
Karolina Pliskova vs. Tereza Martincova: The pair played in the third round of Wimbledon last year where Pliskova won, 6-3 6-3. Martincova has quietly built some decent results on grass in these past two years. I don’t know where Pliskova is at. She looked much better in Berlin and the serve was a real weapon again. Then she lost out to Boulter at Eastbourne where the serve was all over the place. Considered the upset… sticking with Pliskova.
Day 1 Previews
Danielle Collins vs. Marie Bouzkova: See draw preview. Big fan of Bouzkova but Collins has become pretty accomplished at coming into Slams cold so i’m not too put off that she hasn’t played any competitive matches on grass yet.
Katerina Siniakova vs. Maja Chwalinska: Really intrigued to watch Chwalinska for the first time who has qualified for her first main draw at a Slam. There’s a story on the WTA website with Chwalinska who was very open about her battle with depression. I think Siniakova has a great game for the grass. 0-2 for this year though having been burnt with the draws (Andreescu and Halep first round). Siniakova should win but wary with Chwalinska having a bit of the unknown quantity factor.
Alison Riske vs. Ylena In-Albon: Oops I have to be honest that i’d never heard of In-Albon before I saw her name in the draw! On closer inspection, the Swiss player has been storming up the rankings with some excellent results on the ITF tour. I’m going for Riske.
Marta Kostyuk vs. Katie Swan: I was surprised to see Swan play Bad Homburg last week but she did well, managing to qualify for the main draw and then beating Stephens in the first round. Kostyuk played a great match against Krejcikova in Eastbourne but wasn’t able to back it up in the next round. I’m going for Kostyuk.
Emma Raducanu vs. Alison Van Uytvanck: See draw preview. One of those 50-50 matches that i’m struggling to pick a winner! I went for Raducanu in the end and took a gamble despite the concerns with her fitness. I think the home support and occasion may favour Raducanu.
Angelique Kerber vs. Kristina Mladenovic: The pair last played in the first round of the US Open in 2019 where Mladenovic won in three sets. I think (and hope! 😂) Kerber will win this one comfortably.
Elise Mertens vs. Camila Osorio: Osorio hasn’t won a set on grass this year. I watched her match with Tsurenko at Eastbourne and she battled hard, just coming up short in both sets. Mertens is also winless on the grass this year. I love Osorio’s spirit. Mertens though has been incredibly reliable at Slams of late. I must admit I was swayed by Mertens’s run of reaching at least the third round of her last 17 Slams!
Ons Jabeur vs. Mirjam Bjorklund: After losing at the first round of the French, I think this is an ideal opener for Jabeur against a player competing in the main draw of Wimbledon for the first time. Ons spoke a good game in press.
Daria Saville vs. Viktoriya Tomova: One of the more interesting first rounders from the bottom half. Tomova won their only previous match in Cagnes-Sur-Mer in 2020 and had a superb run in Eastbourne to the quarter-finals as a lucky loser. Love Dasha’s wild card story and I think she might go on a bit of a run here.
Sorana Cirstea vs. Aleksandra Krunic: This is the only first round match where i’ve gone against my initial instinct. I was super impressed by Krunic in Eastbourne and would have picked her in this match-up before I realised that Cirstea beat Krunic in Birmingham, 6-1 6-1 😂. Results can change, particularly with a game like Cirstea’s, but not brave enough to pick Krunic now.
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Oceane Dodin: Helmets at the ready. You never know with Ostapenko and i’ve been burned a few times this year 😂. Looked good in Eastbourne so i’m sticking with Ostapenko.
Belinda Bencic vs. Wang Qiang: This first rounder escaped me when the draw was initially revealed. After a bright start to the season, Wang’s results have been on the decline since the clay. I was worried about Bencic’s injury from the Berlin final and noted she was still at home. She posted on Instagram from Wimby today so i’m guessing that’s positive news? BB for the win.
Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Kaja Juvan: Not a straightforward opener for Haddad Maia. I think Juvan is due a big result somewhere soon but the consistency isn’t quite there yet. BHM leads the H2H, 2-0. Wouldn’t be surprised at Juvan winning this. I’m going for Haddad Maia though.
Anett Kontaveit vs. Bernarda Pera: It’s so odd to see Kontaveit as the number two seed. Been a tough few months and I think Anett has been struggling with the after effects of COVID after picking it up in Madrid. Pera is dangerous but not the best closer and hasn’t played on grass this year. Has to be an automatic upset alert. Hopeful if Kontaveit is playing it means she is feeling better.