On Saturday, a women’s Wimbledon champion will be crowned for the first time, when Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic takes on No. 6 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.
If Vondrousova wins, she will become the first unseeded woman to do so, and if Jabeur takes home the title, she will become the first African woman in the Open era to win a Grand Slam singles trophy. Who will win? We asked our experts:
What can Jabeur do to defeat Vondrousova?
Drysdale Cliff: Jabeur needs to put the ball in play with Vondrousova’s serve. She will win most cross-country rallies.
Bill Connelly: For me, it’s all about the Jabeur service. Going into Wimbledon, she had won 68% of her first serve points and 46% of her second serve points. However, in her two losses to Vondrousova, he was at 60% and 32%, respectively. She suffered eight breaks in a three-set loss at the Australian Open and five more times in a straight-set loss at Indian Wells in March.
But at Wimbledon, he has served as well as ever. She has only been broken six times in this four-match challenge (Bianca Andreescu, Petra Kvitova, Elena Rybakina, Aryna Sabalenka), and she has won 80% of first-serve points and 52% of second-serve points in every match. She is controlling the points beautifully and putting great pressure on the opponents. Vondrousova might be the best returner in the game without being named Iga Swiatek, but if Jabeur keeps serving like that, she’s the favorite.
tom hamilton: She has experience from Grand Slam finals, but it’s all about learning from brutal past experiences and making sure she doesn’t make the same mistakes this time. She has to maintain that remarkable record of winning 80% of her first serve points at Wimbledon this year, but even though she has dropped a set three times at the championships, she can’t afford to do that. against Vondrousova. This is going to be a mental battle for Jabeur – she masters that and will get the first slam out of it.
D’Arcy Maine: First of all, Jabeur will have to continue doing everything he has done during the tournament and do everything possible not to think about what is at stake. It would be impossible to completely forget that he is playing in an important final, especially after losing his first two attempts, but staying focused and mentally tough will be key. He’s been spending a lot of time with his sports psychologist this season and this fortnight, and that showed in her comeback win over Sabalenka on Thursday. She’ll need to have the same level of self-confidence and resolve, no matter the score, to get that much-desired dish from Venus Rosewater.
Alyssa Roenigk: Exactly what she did against Rybakina and Sabalenka the last two days: stay calm and stay on point. Control what she can control. Prior to this tournament, Jabeur said that in last year’s Wimbledon final (which she lost to Rybakina in three sets), she let her emotions get the better of her and she abandoned her game plan. After Thursday’s semifinal, she said she was proud of herself for the mental work she’s put in over the past year and her ability to put that work to use during a match. She’ll be a lot more proud of herself if she can keep it up for one more game.
What can Vondrousova do to defeat Jabeur?
Drysdale: Vondrousova just needs to play the power play like she did on Thursday.
Connelly: Jabeur has been ridiculously strong mentally, but aside from crushing Jabeur’s serve as she has in their previous two meetings in 2023, it’s fair to think that a quick start and early lead for Vondrousova could play hugely in her favor, not just because Of course, early leads are always good, but also because the demons from Jabeur’s Wimbledon and US Open final losses last year could start to loom over our heads. After last year’s heartbreakers, the pressure is on Jabeur. The more Vondrousova makes her feel that pressure, the better.
Hamilton: This will come down to Vondrousova calming her nerves and tapping back into that remarkable inner belief that has served her so well at these championships. She played a crowd favorite in the semifinals, Elina Svitolina, and the same is likely to happen on Saturday against Jabeur. So it will be a case of blocking out the noise and trusting in what she has served you so well. She has been aggressive in returning her, and it is essential that she gets off to a fast start.
Maine: Vondrousova has beaten Jabeur twice this season, so she certainly knows what it takes to beat her. Granted, those matches were on hard courts against an injured Jabeur and the Wimbledon title was not on the line, but she can still glean valuable information from those two matches. During their three-set clash at the Australian Open, Jabeur was unable to play his game, had 50 unforced errors and was broken eight times. Lefty Vondrousova will have to prevent Jabeur from finding her rhythm early on, as well as stopping any momentum. The crowd is likely to vociferously support Jabeur, and Vondrousova will need to tune out that and not freak out, just as she did against Svitolina.
Ronigk: He can’t play like he did on Thursday and expect to win the title. Vondrousova and Svitolina played error-plagued tennis, but Vondrousova used variety and a strong service game to win in straight sets. She will need all of that against Jabeur and a lot fewer mistakes. She will also need to believe.
Once a world number 14 and a finalist at the 2019 French Open, she has shown that she can beat the best players in the world. By becoming the first unseeded woman to reach the Wimbledon final since Billie Jean King in 1963, she’s already inscribed her name in the record books and cemented her comeback. Vondrousova has already won. So she should play like she has nothing to lose.
Who will win?
Drysdale: Jabeur to win.
Chris Evert: Jabeur will win because she is confident, and her past experience of losing two finals will help her not to make the same mistakes of nerves and lack of faith.
Connelly: Jabeur is favored for a reason, and I think the way she has been serving will make the difference in the end. She wasn’t 100% in any of her losses to Vondrousova earlier this year; she’s in absolutely brilliant shape right now; And I think she’ll take it Jabeur’s betting line right now, according to Caesars, is -220, equaling a 69% chance of winning.
But I also don’t want to underestimate Vondrousova’s chances. Vondrousova is 11-6 against top 30 opponents this year, 5-4 against top 10. And again, she’s beaten Jabeur twice already. Vondrousova definitely has a chance.
Hamilton: This has all the makings of being an epic match. I expect it to be three sets, and I think they will get in shape: Vondrousova will win the first set and Jabeur will come back to win the next two. There is steely determination behind Jabeur’s Wimbledon campaign. She’s clearly sick of being so close to a slam only to suffer final heartbreak. Having lost to Vondrousova twice this year, Jabeur knows her well, and this fits nicely into the narrative of Jabeur looking to make amends for past losses. She’s been called the Minister of Happiness, but she’s been a grinning assassin at Wimbledon. Jabeur in three.
Maine: As Jabeur has said, this tournament has been his revenge tour. She returned to the final after a disappointing second-place finish in 2022, defeated last year’s champion Rybakina in the quarterfinals and now has a chance to defeat the person who ruined her Australian Open campaign at the start of the season. I have no concrete proof of this and no statistical evidence to back it up, but it looks like the time has come for Jabeur to win. Ons Jabeur in three sets.
Ronigk: Jabeur. Typically, I would be inclined to say that his desire to finally advance to a Slam could work against him. Sabalenka has dreamed of being No. 1 in the world since she was a child, and that thought probably crept into her mind and tensed her late in Thursday’s match. But Jabeur has been clear about her desire to take full advantage of this new version. On court Thursday, she said that even though Vondrousova has beaten her in both of her meetings this season, she is ready to get back at her. “It’s worked well for me so far in this tournament,” she said.