🇬🇧 Wimbledon SF: 🇧🇾 (2) Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇨🇿 (8) Karolina Pliskova
Thursday’s second semi-final from SW19 sees the 2nd seeded Karolina Pliskova take the 8th seeded Aryna Sabalenka. This match-up arguably features the two best players on the WTA tour that have yet to win a Grand Slam title. Sabalenka will be competing in her first major semi-final having never previously reached a major quarter-final before this week. Conversely Pliskova will be competing in her fourth Grand Slam semi-final, having now reached the final 4 at each of the 4 majors.
Aryna Sabalenka’s route to the semi-finals:
R1: def. (Q) Monica Niculescu 6-1 6-4
R2: def. (WC) Katie Boulter 4-6 6-3 6-3
R3: def. (Q) María Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0 6-3
R4: def. (18) Elena Rybakina 6-3 4-6 6-3
QF: def. (21) Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-3
Karolina Pliskova’s route to the semi-finals:
R1: def. Tamara Zidansek 7-5 6-4
R2: def. Donna Vekic 6-2 6-2
R3: def. Tereza Martincova 6-3 6-3
R4: def. (wc) Ludmila Samsonova 6-2 6-3
QF: def. Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-2
Karolina Pliskova has more clinically progressed through the draw; the Czech hasn’t dropped a set but has certainly had a very favourable draw. Sabalenka has had a couple of her typical lapses but has rallied to beat a couple of quality opponents in the last couple of rounds.
Sabalenka has won both previous meetings between the pair, a 6-3 2-6 7-6 on the grass of Eastbourne in 2018, followed by a 2-6 6-3 7-5 win on the hard courts of Cincinnati in 2019.
I’m going for the upset here. Firstly, Pliskova is more experienced, in general, and more importantly at this stage of a major, that has to count for something. Secondly, Pliskova’s slightly steadier game may prove advantageous in a match that is sure to be full of nerves and played with fine margins. Thirdly, Pliskova has been more consistent this tournament and is less likely to suffer from a mid-match lapse in her level, which could also be key in what should be a close match. It has been a long time coming for Pliskova to win a match like this, she looks to be in a good position to take advantage this time.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova to defeat Aryna Sabalenka in 3 sets