Wimbledon 2022: Women’s Final Preview and Prediction

Jul 7, 2022 - 5:32 PM

Oddsmakers pegged Simona Halep as the favorite entering the semifinals at Wimbledon, as she was the only one of the four women to have appeared in a Grand Slam semifinal, let alone win two Grand Slam titles. So much for experience.

In a final with many “firsts,” the most glaring is that this is the first Wimbledon Ladies’ Championship between two first-time Major finalists in the Open era. While an Ons Jabeur-Elena Rybakina is surprising, recent history on the Women’s side tells us it should not be so shocking. First, there will now be a sixth different woman to win Wimbledon among the last six played, and now 12 of the previous 21 Majors will have been won by a first-time champion. Jabeur and Rybakina also bring the total to 13 first-time finalists over the last 13 Grand Slam finals and are also the first women to represent their countries in a Grand Slam final.

So who will go on to victory?

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Ons Jabeur’s Path to the Wimbledon Finals

d. M. Bjorklund 6-1, 6-3, d. K. Kawa 6-4, 6-0, d. D. Parry 6-2, 6-3, d. E. Mertens 7-6, 6-4, d. M. Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, d. T. Maria 6-2, 3-6, 6-1

Elena Rybakina’s Path to the Wimbledon Finals

d. C. Vandeweghe 7-6, 7-5, d. B. Andreescu 6-4, 7-6, d. Q Zheng 7-6, 7-5, d. P. Martic 7-5, 6-3, d. A. Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, d. S. Halep 6-3, 6-3

Ons Jabeur vs. Elena Rybakina

Jabeur fended off a crafty opponent in Tatjana Maria in the semifinals. Her three-set victory was her 13th this year, tied for the most on tour with Amanda Anisimova. Jabeur is now 11-0 on grass this year and is 22-2 in her last 24 matches. In addition, her 84 match wins since the start of 2021 are the most of any woman on tour. All of this makes her a worthy favorite in the final against Rybakina, as does a 2-1 head-to-head record over her opponent. But what makes Rybakina a live underdog is that her style is much different than Jabeur’s last opponent, and it will take some time for the Tunisian to settle into this match.

Forty percent of Maria’s forehands in the final were slices, and her shots, on average, carried 55 mph of pace. Rybakina, on the other hand, is much flatter with her groundstrokes and is one of the most powerful women on tour. She can hit anyone off the court, and her serve is a much more powerful weapon that most women’s, as her 217 aces were the most in the WTA leading into Wimbledon.

Every part of Rybakina’s game was working in her win over Halep. Rybakina had 22 winners, five aces, and broke Halep’s serve four times. She was nailing the ball, looked poised and calm, and will not be at a disadvantage on this big stage, considering Jabeur is in the same boat as her in a maiden Major final.

Jabeur will have to use her craftiness to diffuse Rybakina’s power, but power and a big serve usually win out on grass.

Rybakina is a slightly worse 2-6 in finals compared to Jabeur’s 3-5 record. However, Rybakina’s path to the finals was much more difficult than Jabeur’s, and that should have her prepared mentally to take down the world’s No. 2 ranked player. In a tournament full of surprises, we call for one last “surprise” with an upset in the final.

Bet: Elena Rybakina ML (+125 at DraftKings)  

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