The big match

Elena Rybakina vs. Ons Jabeur: Wimbledon women’s final preview and predictions

Both players are making their maiden appearance in a grand slam final

There will be a new name on the Wimbledon wall of champions at the All England Club. After two weeks of grass-court action in SW19, Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur are through to Saturday’s women’s singles championship match – the first time either player has reached the final of a grand slam. 

Tunisian third seed Jabeur, the world No.2, secured her place in the showpiece with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 win over Tatjana Maria in the semi-finals. She is the first Arab player to reach a slam singles final and first African woman since South Africa’s Sandra Reynolds at Wimbledon in 1960, the BBC reported. After “years of work and sacrifice”, it’s a “dream come true”, the 27-year-old said. “I’m really happy it is paying off and now there is one more match to come.”

Rybakina progressed to the final after beating 2019 champion Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 in the last four. Ranked 23rd in the world, Rybakina is expecting a “great match” against Jabeur. “She’s a great player, very tricky player – it’s not going to be easy to play against her drop shots and volleys. I think I already did the work so it’s time to enjoy it out on court.”

“Born in Russia, made in Kazakhstan”, should the 23-year-old be crowned Wimbledon champion it could be a “potentially awkward moment for organisers” after Russian players were banned from the tournament following the invasion of Ukraine, said AFP. After switching federations in 2018 Rybakina has grown tired of “fending off questions over her nationality”, the news agency added. The 23-year-old has been playing for Kazakhstan “for a long time” and is “really happy” representing the nation. “They believed in me,” she said. “There is no more question about how I feel.” 

1

Start time and TV coverage 

Saturday’s Wimbledon women’s singles final will start at 2pm (BST) on Centre Court. The final will be shown live in the UK on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The BBC’s coverage starts at 1pm. 

2

Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Player profiles and head-to-head

Elena Rybakina 

  • Nationality: Kazakhstani
  • Age: 23
  • Seeded at Wimbledon: 17 
  • WTA world ranking: 23
  • Turned pro: 2016
  • Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)
  • WTA career singles titles: 2 
  • Win-loss singles: 223/108

Ons Jabeur 

  • Nationality: Tunisian 
  • Age: 27 
  • Seeded at Wimbledon: 3
  • WTA world ranking: 2
  • Turned pro: 2010
  • Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)
  • WTA career singles titles: 3
  • Win-loss singles: 376/207

Head-to-head: previous matches

  • Matches played: 3 
  • Wins: Rybakina 1, Jabeur 2

They have played each other three times on the WTA Tour – all on hard courts. Jabeur edges the head-to-head 2-1 having won their last two encounters. Rybakina won in Wuhan in 2019 and Jabeur drew level in Dubai last year. Jabeur also won at the Chicago 500 last September after Rybakina retired. 

3

Ons Jabeur

Ons Jabeur

Robert Prange/Getty Images

Predictions: who will win the women’s final?

There will be a “clash of styles” in Saturday’s final, said Shahida Jacobs on Tennis365.com. Jabeur offers “finesse and cheekiness” against the “aggression and power” of opponent Rybakina. “The big question, though, for any first-time grand slam finalist is whether or not they can keep the butterflies in check.” If both players play to their full potential, “then they will be tough to separate”. Rybakina “might just edge it with her power game”. However, “nerves often lead to a one-sided final” and in that case Jabeur with her care-free nature “might just settle better”.

Jabeur was “our pre-tournament tip” to win the women’s singles at Wimbledon and “we’re sticking with her” in the final against Rybakina, said Tony Kelshaw on bwin.com. “If Jabeur brings her A-game, with all its delightful variations and deft drop shots, we still believe she is a cut above.”

Rybakina “hasn’t been as strong under pressure”, although she has been “spectacular” throughout the Wimbledon fortnight, said Sudeshna Banerjee on SportsKeeda. Overall, Jabeur’s “fabulous consistency” and “amazing guile” give her the edge, but Rybakina “surely won't bow out without a fight”. Prediction: Jabeur to win in three sets.

Jabeur is the “favourite on paper”, but Rybakina has “exceeded expectations time and again” at Wimbledon this year, said Jim Smith on LastWordOnSports. “Why shouldn’t she do so once again?” Prediction: Rybakina in three. 

You could make a strong case for either player, said Trystan Pugh on The Stats Zone. Jabeur has looked “machine-like at times” this past fortnight, but the manner in which Rybakina dismissed Halep in the semi-finals “was certainly eye-catching”. The final is “a difficult one to call” but “three sets would not be a surprise – so backing this to go to a decider is the suggestion”.

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