Aryna Sabalenka ‘might be the favourite’ for Wimbledon says former No.1
Aryna Sabalenka has been backed as the ‘favourite’ to win the Ladies Wimbledon singles title this year by seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, following the Belarusian’s first round victory over Panna Udvardy.
Sabalenka returned to SW19 for the first time in two years yesterday, following Russian and Belarusian players being banned from the tournament last year, and kicked her campaign off with a straight sets win on Centre Court.
Stylish display. Ruthless finish.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 4, 2023
The Australian Open champion spoke of how she had ‘missed’ being at The Championships after the match, “I was enjoying the atmosphere, I was enjoying my game. I think I missed this place a lot, that’s why I played my best tennis today.
“I feel great, I’m feeling good, it’s really good to be one of the favourites at this beautiful tournament. I’ll do my best to make sure I reach as far as I can here at Wimbledon.”
Sabalenka labelled herself as ‘one of the favourites’ and Wilander backed up that sentiment, “It was a pretty straightforward victory, I thought. Udvardy, not a good enough mover to really make it difficult for Sabalenka.”
Wilander continued, “She’s playing great, she’s hitting the ball great, she’s moving better it seems this year than she has in the past. She looks fit and strong.
“It makes such a big difference to her to have a big serve these days because that’s what separates her from the other women, because of her ball striking skills and serving. She might be the favourite in my eyes when I see her play like this, I have to say.”
Sabalenka now awaits the winner of Camila Giorgi and Varvara Gracheva, as the WTA No.2 continues her bid for a second Grand Slam title.
Aryna Sabalenka at Wimbledon
Before 2021, Sabalenka had only won one of her four matches at The Championships, however her breakthrough run to the semi-final two years ago should give the Belarusian confidence this year.
Here is Sabalenka’s record at Wimbledon:
Win-loss record: 7-4 (64%)
2017 – Lost in the second round to Carina Witthoeft, 6(5)-7 6-3 3-6
2018 – Lost in the first round to Mihaela Buzarnescu (29), 7-6(3) 1-6 4-6
2019 – Lost in the first round to Magdalena Rybarikova, 2-6 4-6
2021 – Lost in the semi-final to Karolina Pliskova (8), 7-5 4-6 4-6
2023 – Currently in the second round
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