4 min read
With most of the Wimbledon semifinals set, players are just days away from the final weekend. With Universal Tennis INSIGHTS, we are looking ahead to the semifinals, with the women playing on Thursday and the men on Friday.
Ons Jabeur is favored to go all the way as she next takes on mom-of-two Tatjana Maria, while Simona Halep is the only female player left that's contested a Grand Slam semifinal before.
Ons Jabeur 89% vs. Tatjana Maria 11%
As the No. 3 seed Ons Jabeur (UTR Rating 13.14) is the highest-seeded woman left and the INSIGHTS favorite to win her first Grand Slam at 53% odds. In Thursday's semifinal action, she is expected to beat Tatjana Maria (12.24) with an 89% chance. Jabeur leads in career head-to-head meetings against Maria, but they haven’t seen each other across the net since 2018, although they've hung out socially.
“I love Tatjana so much and her family is so amazing. She is my barbeque buddy, so it will be tough to play her, obviously but she is a great friend..." Jabeur said. "Look at her now, she is in a semifinal after having two babies, it is an amazing story."
Jabeur needed three sets to end the dream run of Marie Bouzkova (12.73), 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 while Maria pulled off a third-set comeback to beat Julie Niemeier (12.24), 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. Maria has been the Cinderella story of the fortnight as she makes her major breakthrough at 34. She turned pro in 2001, played her first Wimbledon in 2007, and has competed in 35 Grand Slams. Along with her for the wild ride in London is the German's eight-year-old Charlotte and 15-month-old baby Cecilia.
"For me, that's the most important in my life, to be a mum of my two kids. Nothing will change this," Maria said."I'm here I'm in the semifinal of Wimbledon; it's crazy, but I'm still a mum. After this, I will go out over there and I will see my kids and I will do the same thing what I do every single day."
Jabuer is looking to become the first woman from Africa to win a major. As the world No. 2 in the WTA rankings, she’s already the most accomplished Arab player in history.
Simona Halep 69% vs. Elena Rybakina 31%
The top half of the women's draw played on Wednesday with Simona Halep (13.10) favored to beat Amanda Anisimova (12.93) at 61% and Elena Rybakina (12.75) expected to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic (12.40) at 69%. Halep eased past Anisimova 6-2, 6-4, while Rybakina fought back to defeat Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Halep leads 2-1 in career head-to-head meetings against Rybakina, most recently beating her in the third round of the US Open. Seeded No. 16, Halep is the only player left that has contested a Grand Slam semifinal before. She's seeking her third major after winning Wimbledon in 2019 and Roland Garros in 2018.
“I’m in the semis, but I’m still far,” Halep said. “So I will take tomorrow as a new challenge, big challenge, and I will give my best. If there is a chance to win this tournament, I will take it. I will work hard to take it.”
Novak Djokovic 73% vs. Cameron Norrie 27%
Novak Djokovic (16.04) is expected to get past Cameron Norrie (15.61) with INSIGHTS giving him a 73% chance of reaching his fourth Wimbledon final in a row. The Serbian beat the Brit in their only career meeting at the ATP Nitto Finals last year.
Djokovic had to come back from two sets down against Jannik Sinner (15.74) on Tuesday before prevailing 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. The win keeps Djokovic’s nine-year winning streak on Centre Court alive.
“I go through the same doubtful moments as anyone else,” Djokovic said. “The inner fight is the biggest fight you go through. I always believed I could turn the match around, I’ve done it a few times in grand slams. I’m just glad I’m through.
“This court has inspired me, every time I step on it the love affair keeps going and hopefully I can maintain that run.”
Norrie also survived a battle to get past David Goffin (15.38) in five sets, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal. Before this fortnight, the former TCU college standout had never gone beyond the third round at a major. Turning pro in 2018, this breakthrough has been brewing for the 26-year-old as he enjoyed his best season in 2021 with six ATP final appearances and a rise to No. 12 in the ATP rankings.
"Just all the hard work and the sacrifices and everything just kind of all hit me at once...” Norrie said. "For me, just kind of thinking back, all the hard work, the sacrifices, and everything, I kind of didn't really know what to say. Got emotional there, and, just a crazy day and crazy match to get through, especially with the way that it started. That's the reason why you play the sport."
Rafael Nadal 71% vs. Nick Kyrgios 29%
The second men’s semifinal will pit Nick Kyrgios (15.71) against initial INSIGHTS tournament favorite and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal (16.11). Although he said he never thought he'd get this far, Kyrgios’ run this far at a major has been a long time coming: The 27-year-old made his first Wimbledon quarterfinal eight years ago.
"I just never thought I would be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam," he said. "I thought the boat had passed. Really proud."
While the Aussie entered the event unseeded he was dubbed a dark horse for how the grass compliments his big game and after reaching the semifinals of two tune-up events. He's the first Australian male since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 to reach a Wimbledon semifinal and the first unseeded Wimbledon semifinalist since 2008.
Nadal and Krygios have a rich history starting with Kyrgios actually stunning Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014 on his memorable run. The 36-year-old Spaniard leads 6-3 in career meetings and won their most recent battle in Indian Wells this year.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 6 a.m. EST, July 7, 2022.