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Wimbledon Women’s Final Preview: Ons Jabeur vs. Marketa Vondrousova

Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova will face Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon women’s final on Saturday. Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images

Wimbledon—Centre Court grass represents revival ground.

A year after falling to Elena Rybakina in a three-set Wimbledon final, a recharged Ons Jabeur returns for her second straight shot at the title.

Across the net, a revitalized Marketa Vondrousova aims to raise the Rosewater Dish a year after she attended The Championships as a fan, her left wrist wrapped in a cast after her second surgery.

Playing for her second career title and first grass-court crown, the left-handed Vondrousova has split six career meetings with Jabeur.

The left-handed Czech prevailed 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 at the Australian Open then backed it up with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win at Indian Wells.

However, Jabeur won their lone prior grass encounter 6-3, 7-6(4) at the 2021 Eastbourne and is a more accomplished player on lawn winning a WTA Tour-best 28 matches on grass since the start of 2021.

(6) Ons Jabeur (TUN) vs. Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)

Head-to-Head: Even 3-3

2023 Record: Jabeur 22-9; Vondrousova 26-10

Best Wimbledon Result: Jabeur two-time finalist; Vondrousova 2023 final

Career Grass Record: Jabeur 34-12; Vondrousova 10-11

Career Finals Record: Jabeur 4-7; Vondrousova 1-4

Career Slam Final Record: Jabeur 0-2 (lost 2022 Wimbledon final to Elena Rybakina and 2022 US Open final to Iga Swiatek); Vondrousova 0-1 (lost 2019 Roland Garros final to Ash Barty)

Career Three-Set Record: Jabeur 58-47; Vondrousova 29-40

Ons Jabeur on Marketa Vondrousova: “I’m going for my revenge. I didn’t win against her this year. She has good hands. She plays very good. Honestly, I will try to focus on myself a lot. I’m not sure how she’s going to play second Grand Slam final, I believe. We both hungry to win. Whoever deserve it more will win.”

Marketa Vondrousova on Ons Jabeur: “I feel like we’re the same in some things. We’re playing dropshots. We’re playing slice. But we played few times already this year. We were supposed to play in Eastbourne also first round, but I withdrew. Yeah, she played finals here last year. She was playing also US Open final. She’s used to playing finals in a Grand Slam. I mean, it’s a final, so it’s going to be tough match.”

Ons Jabeur’s Road to the Final:
R1: defeated No. 70 Magdalena Frech 6-3, 6-3
R2: defeated No. 191 Zhuoxuan Bai 6-1, 6-1
R3: defeated No. 50 Bianca Andreescu 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
R4: defeated (9) Petra Kvitova 6-0, 6-3
QF: defeated (3) Elena Rybakina 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-1
SF: defeated (2) Aryna Sabalenka 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 

Marketa Vondrousova’s Road to the Final:
R1: defeated No. 59 Peyton Stearns 6-2, 7-5
R2: defeated No. (12) Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-3
R3: defeated (20) Donna Vekic 6-1, 7-5
R4: defeated (32) Marie Bouzkova 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
QF: defeated (4) Jessica Pegula 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
SF: defeated (WC) Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3

What’s at Stake

A maiden major title is on the line for both women as well as a champion’s check of £2.35 million, which is about $3 million.

Marketa Vondrousova is playing to become the first unseeded Wimbledon women’s champion in Open Era history and join Jana Novotna and Petra Kvitova as the third Czech to raise the Rosewater Dish.

Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur is bidding to become the first Arab, first African and first Tunisian woman to capture a Grand Slam singles title.

Creative Clash

Neither the 5’6” Jabeur nor 5’7” Vondrousova will bruise the back wall with blasts yet both women have gone toe-to-toe with power players at times in the tournament and defused them.

Consequently, we should see a final featuring some clever point construction rather than point-ending destruction.

That’s why this final could be highly entertaining if both can hold their nerve and produce the all-court tennis they’ve delivered to reach the final.

Final Questions

The forecast here in London calls for rain and whipping winds on Saturday, which will create an indoor final playing beneath the closed Centre Court retractable roof.

If that happens who does it favor?

You can make a case it will favor Jabeur more because she tends to play flatter drives, however a closed roof should benefit both players. Vondrousova requires a bit more time to generate the more expansive backswing on her forehand, but playing beneath the ceiling will provide more pristine conditions and reduce some of the funky bounces breezy conditions can create.

Why Ons Jabeur Will Win

Ons Jabeur will win Wimbledon because she’s the lawn leader. Since 2021, Jabeur has scored a Tour-best 28 grass-court wins becoming the first woman to win 28 lawn matches in a three-year span since Maria Sharapova did it from 2004-2006.

In contrast, Vondrousova owns a losing lifetime lawn record posting a 10-11 mark on grass.

The pure passion Jabeur has poured into Wimbledon spotlights the fact she’s playing for something greater than her own glory.

Jabeur is playing to realize her personal dream, yes, but the woman nicknamed “Minister of Happiness” in her homeland is also playing to bring joy, hope and inspiration to her people and those are very powerful forces to carry on court.

“I love this tournament so much,” Jabeur said in her 2022 Wimbledon runner-up speech. “I feel really sad. It’s tennis there is only one winner. I’m trying to inspire many generations from my country. I hope they’re listening. I also want to thank this beautiful crowd for their support throughout this tournament.”

In the 2022 final, Rybakina averaged 111 mph on her first serve, 12 miles-an-hour faster than Jabeur’s serve average and one mile-an-hour faster than the Tunisian’s fastest serve.

Tomorrow, Jabeur will have more time and opportunity to plot points against Vondrousova, whose average first serve speed was 104 mph and average second-serve speed was 86 mph.

When Jabeur has time to create, she can conjure magical combinations. Jabeur has paid her dues to arrive at this moment and now it’s time to reap the rewards of all she’s given. She will win because she knows her time is now.

Why Marketa Vondrousova Will Win

Marketa Vondrousova will win because she knows how to beat Jabeur and has already done it twice this year, including that 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 win over the Tunisian at the Australian Open last January.

Vondrousova’s versatility, lefty spins and skill opening the court with her slider serve wide to Jabeur’s weaker backhand wing will give her an edge she’s exploited beating the Tunisian three times in six meetings. Ad-side points are pivotal and Vondrousova knows she has a winning pattern against Jabeur on that side of the court.

While grass has been Vondrousova’s least successful surface, this is a different version of Vondrousova. First, she’s finally healthy. Secondly, she’s shown tremendous shotmaking skills on the run against precise players, including Pegula, Svitolina and 12th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova.

Internally, Vondrousova has been quite candid about feeling “crazy nerves.”

Externally, she hasn’t shown a trace of fear toppling favored opponents in her last five matches.

Vondrousova has been swinging freely at crunch time and if she can continue to play with that shotmaking swagger and apply all of her skills, she will win.