Ons Jabeur vs Marketa Vondrousova: Wimbledon 2023 women’s singles final preview
At the beginning of the championships, few would have predicted the women’s Wimbledon final draw to feature an unseeded player for the first time in the open era.
Given the recent surge of the ‘Big Three’ in the women’s game, even fewer would have predicted that not one of them would be in the final.
At the second time of asking, the record-breaking Tunisian, Ons Jabeur, is hoping to win her maiden Grand Slam title on Wimbledon’s Centre Court after falling at last year’s final hurdle. The 28-year-old is bidding again to make history by becoming the first African or Arab Woman to win a Grand Slam title.
On the other side of the draw, this is not Marketa Vondrousova’s first successful run in a Grand Slam. The 24-year-old Czech player was runner up at Roland Garros in 2019. She also holds an Olympic silver medal.
Head to head record
The pair have met a total of six times, with an equal head-to-head record at three apiece. Vondrousova is currently ranked 42nd in the world, Jabeur is ranked 6th, although thundering past top seeds does not seem to phase the first time Wimbledon finalist.
The Czech won both meetings against her opponent at this year at Indian Wells (7-6, 6-4) and the Australian Open (6-1, 5-7, 6-1), with the Tunisian the second seed at the latter.
Their only previous meeting on clay in Stuttgart and also went to three sets with Jabeur eventually clinching the win.
Perhaps the most relevant head-to-head comes from the pairs only grass court meeting at Eastbourne in 2021, where Jabeur took the win in straight sets (6-3, 7-6).
Since 2021, the pairs encounters have been closely contested, all going to three sets or featuring at least a tie breaker.
Previous Wimbledon records
Jabeur has a very enviable Wimbledon record and she will be hoping she can cap that off with a title this weekend.
She played her first main draw match in 2017 and it certainly took her a while to find her feet. However, from 2021 onwards she has been a veritable force at SW19.
Vondrousova has not had the same previous success as her opponent. In fact, a second round appearance is the best that it got for the Czech at The Championships before this year. She was a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in the doubles in 2017, though.
Path to the Wimbledon final
Although Vondrousova is unseeded, she has made impressive strides in her draw, defeating four seeded players enroute to the final. That included toppling a top five player in the ever-consistent Jessica Pegula.
Vondrousova 2023 Wimbledon run
1R: Peyton Stearns
2R: Veronika Kudermetova (12)
3R: Donna Vekić (20)
4R Marie Bouzková (32) – 3 sets
QF: Jessica Pegula (4) – 3 sets
SF: Elina Svitolina
Jabeur 2023 Wimbledon run
Unlike her opponent, Jabeur is seeded in The Championships. She has still had to defeat three top 10 players on her journey to the final, though, including four former Grand Slam winners. The Tunisian also avenged last years final defeat by overcoming defending champion Elena Rybakina.
1R: Magdalena Frech
2R: Zhuoxuan Bai
3R: Bianca Andreescu – 3 sets
4R Petra Kvitová (9)
QF: Rybakina (3) – 3 sets
SF: Aryna Sabalenka (2) – 3 sets
Ultimately, with a tightly contested history and equal head to head, the match could be anyone’s game.
The pair also have similar playing styles. Notably neither are big hitters but have strong service games, heavy spin and deep court slicing. Jabeur may have the edge in terms of the crowd-pleasing drop shot and net play, though.
While the Tunisian has the advantage of the experience of last years final on her side, it may be countered by the Czech’s chill and seemingly unphased approach by any big occasion, despite admitting nerves in her post semi-final interview.
Jabeur is also the older of the two and had a much longer, tighter and more exhausting semi-final match up.
A disadvantage though? Not for Ons, it seems she almost needs a comeback challenge to produce her most profound wins. A favourite with the crowd, a favourite on paper and a tale of a second chance to make history, the real question is if the Tunisian can hold out her nerve, once again. We believe she will.
Prediction: Jabeur in three sets. She trumps in experience overall on grass and has the mental advantage of competing in the 2022 final.
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