Wimbledon 2022 will host the first ever major final contested by no players from Europe, the United States, or Australia, as first-time Grand Slam finalists Ons Jabeur and Elena Rybakina will face each other on Saturday in SW19. Tunisia or Kazakhstan, which country will celebrate their first Grand Slam champion?
Ons Jabeur is at a career-high ranking of No.2, her seeding at Wimbledon is No.3. The 27-year-old has won three WTA titles, including two on grass.
Elena Rybakina is ranked No.23, her seeding at Wimbledon is No.17. The 23-year-old has won two WTA titles. Her best career result on grass are semifinal runs at 2019 ‘s-Hertogenbosch and 2021 Eastbourne.
Head-to-head: Jabeur leads Rybakina 2-1
The head-to-head analysis doesn’t tell us much because none of those meetings happened when both players were in their prime. Anyway, Jabeur leads the record 2-1. They played two three-setters — Rybakina won at Wuhan 2019, while Jabeur was victorious at Dubai 2021. Their last encounter, last year in Chicago, was cut short because Rybakina felt ill and retired.
Both players will be playing the match of their careers in Saturday’s Wimbledon final. Neither has experience in such big matches, so the pressure will be on. We can say that Jabeur should be able to be more calm, given her overall bigger experience, but Rybakina showed superior nerve control in her first ever match on Center Court, a semifinal victory over 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, who had won 21 consecutive sets in London.
“Everybody probably nervous when they are going to play on Centre Court and if it’s a final,” Rybakina told reporters. “But it’s a challenge for me to be stable, to be strong mentally.”
Jabeur is ready to become a Grand Slam champion, that is certain, but she will have to handle the burden of being the favorite in the final.
This fortnight, Rybakina has dropped one set – against Ajla Tomljanovic in the quarterfinals – and 57 games en route to the final. Jabeur surrendered sets in the past two rounds, although has conceded fewer games than her final opponent, losing 40 in her six matches.
Road to the final – Ons Jabeur
Ons Jabeur, the greatest Arab tennis player in history, hasn’t lost a match on this surface in 12 months and is the WTA leader in three-set match wins.
Appearing for the fifth time at Wimbledon, Jabeur beat qualifiers Mirjam Bjorklund and Katarzyna Kawa in the first two rounds, then Diane Parry in the third, before tests against Elise Mertens, Marie Bouzkova and Tatjana Maria.
Jabeur now owns 36 wins this season. Only top-ranked Iga Swiatek has more.
Road to the final – Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina struck 144 winners in six matches so far, including 49 aces to take season total to a Tour-leading 217. No other woman on the WTA Tour has passed the 200-ace mark.
Making her second main-draw appearance at Wimbledon, Rybakina ousted two Grand Slam champions this fortnight: Bianca Andreescu in the second round and Simona Halep in the semifinals. Her other victims were Coco Vandeweghe, Zheng Qinwen, Petra Martic and Ajla Tomljanovic, for a total of nine hours and 34 minutes spent on court en route to the final.
Wimbledon final quick facts
Only previous Wimbledon finals in the Open Era not to include a Grand Slam champion were Jana Novotna vs. Nathalie Tauziat in 1998 and Marion Bartoli vs. Sabine Lisicki in 2013.
Either Kazakhstan or Tunisia will become the 12th country represented on the Wimbledon women’s singles roll of honor. British and American women have won 93 of the 127 championships to date, while the other nations are Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Romania.
The winner of Saturday’s match will be the 57th different major winner in the Open Era and 23rd at Wimbledon.
Who do you think will win the Wimbledon women’s singles final? Tell us in the comments!