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Two players without a grand slam title to their name meet on Centre Court, for the penultimate match of our 2023 Wimbledon predictions, this afternoon for the Wimbledon women’s singles final. Hot favourite Ons Jabeur is heading into her third grand slam final, and lost from a set to the good at the All England Club this time last year. Marketa Vondrousova has only made one previous final, coming at the French Open in 2019, but has been a standout player in the competition and got past Elina Svitolina in the semi-final with impressive ease.
Our Wimbledon predictions are just under £20 in profit heading into the weekend and there are plenty of angles to consider for this high pressure encounter. Jabeur has had the tougher route to the final, coming through tests, in which she lost the first set, against reigning champion Elena Rybakina and world no. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who would have actually reached the summit of the rankings had she beaten the Tunisian on Thursday. However, those gruelling matches could hinder Jabeur’s recovery, where Vondrousova also has the underdog tag to take some expectation off of her lifting the title.
The crowd will be right behind Jabeur despite being the favourite, following the dramatic comebacks against Rybakina and Sabalenka and also for being a trailblazer in representing African and Arab women. 4/9 on the Tunisian does not present much value given the occasion, but there are plenty of ways to work around that in the hunt for our penultimate Wimbledon predictions selection.
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Marketa Vondrousova vs Ons Jabeur
In a match like this it is important to consider the chance that nerves get to any front-runner at some point in the match. Despite the pressure being off of Vondrousova slightly, it will only be her second match on Centre Court, where Jabeur has experienced it a lot, and the Czech spoke of the aura that it has after her win against Svitolina. There were finishing line nerves in her semi-final despite the comfortable scoreline, where there were not for Jabeur.
Vondrousova led the Ukrainian 6-3 4-0 serving for a 5-0 lead, she then proceeded to lose the next three games, including dropping serve twice, before Svitolina played a poor game in trying to get it back to 4-4 and the rest is history. The 24-year-old’s other previous grand slam final appearance did not go to plan, she went down 6-1 6-3 to Ashleigh Barty and cannot afford to start as slowly against Jabeur.
It would seem like the most likely time, when finishing line nerves come in this match, will be if or when Jabeur goes a set and a break up. That is when the realisation of how close she is to achieving her lifetime ambition could set in, providing an opportunity for Vondrousova to pounce. Jabeur has also lost the last four tiebreaks she has been involved in, which suggests that she sometimes does not bring her best game when the pressure is on.
Vondrousova was able to battle through the crowd support for Svitolina in the last round, but she already had a comfortable lead in doing so, battling back while Jabeur has the title in her sights may not be so simple. The Tunisian is on the brink of history and will be hoping that her work with a mental coach can come to the fore on a court where she is loved. Last year’s experience of letting the title slip through her fingers against Rybakina should stand her in good stead, against a player who is not capable of dictating rallies to the same extent.
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