Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus celebrates after defeating Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur during the women’s singles quarterfinals match on day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
- In her ninth career Wimbledon, this is Karolina Pliskova’s first singles semifinal
- In her 15th career Grand Slam tournament, this is Sabalenka’s first time past the round of 16.
- Sabalenka leads the head-to-head 2-0; we break down why she’ll reach her first major final
The time has finally come for Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who has had such great success in WTA tournaments but was waiting for her first breakthrough result at a Grand Slam tournament.
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Karolina Pliskova vs Aryna Sabalenka Odds
| Karolina Pliskova (CZE)||+3.5 (-125)||+165||O 21.5 (-122)|
| Aryna Sabalenka (RUS)||-3.5 (+100)||-205||U 21.5 (-103)|
Odds as of July 6 at DraftKings
The world No. 4 has huge stakes to play for, in these finals days on the grass.
Already, she will move up to No. 3 in the rankings with her semifinal effort. If she beats Karolina Pliskova, she would leap over Naomi Osaka to No. 2.
And if she wins the tournament and No. 1 Ashleigh Barty loses her semifinal to Angelique Kerber, Sabalenka would become the new world No. 1.
Hopefully she’s not looking past Thursday, and Pliskova.
Pliskova 0-2 Head-to-Head Against Sabalenka
In Sabalenka’s favor is her positive head-to-head against Pliskova, even if the history is a little ancient.
When she edged her at Eastbourne in 2018, Pliskova was world No. 7 and the defending champion; Sabalenka was ranked No. 45.
She was up to No. 34 when she beat her again in Cincinnati about six weeks later; Pliskova was No. 8.
And Sabalenka is a much better player now than she was then. Pliskova, on the other hand, isn’t playing nearly as well – although she has had an excellent Wimbledon.
Karolina Pliskova vs Aryna Sabalenka Match History
|2018||Cincinnati (R32)||Outdoor Hard||2-6, 6-3, 7-5||Sabalenka|
|2018||Eastbourne (QF)||Grass||6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5)||Sabalenka|
Pliskova a Better Matchup for Sabalenka
According to the oddsmakers, Sabalenka is more of a favorite against Pliskova than she was against the relatively inexperienced Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals.
And that’s probably because of matchups.
Jabeur’s variety had been expected to give the tall Czech fits. In the end, it didn’t.
Sabalenka vs Pliskova is power vs power – similar to Sabalenka’s round of 16 match against No. 18 seed Elena Rybakina.
She won that one in three sets.
Karolina Pliskova vs Aryna Sabalenka Head-to-Head
|29 (March 20, 1992)||Age||23 (May 5, 1998)|
|Louny, Czech Republic||Birthplace||Minsk, Belarus|
|16||Career WTA Singles Titles||10|
|0||Career Grand Slam Titles||0|
|No. 1 (July 6, 2017)||Career High Ranking||No. 4 (May 9, 2021)|
|No. 13||Current Ranking||No. 4|
|$20,973,860||Career Prize Money||$8,053,962|
|20-12||2021 Won/Loss record||34-10|
The Keys to the Match
When you have two big-serving, heavy hitters matched against each other, there are a couple of factors to consider.
Karolina Pliskova has now made the semifinals or better at all four majors, defeating Viktorija Golubic 62 62 to book her 1st #Wimbledon semifinal.
Has yet to lose a set in the tournament, yet to be taken to a tiebreak.
Faces either Sabalenka or Jabeur. pic.twitter.com/tMCtZebdXY
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) July 6, 2021
The first is how easily each holds serve. In that category, Pliskova leads by a fair margin – as long as she gets her first serve in.
Sabalenka has been the more effective in winning points on her second serve.
Notably, though, Pliskova has been broken just three times in five matches; Sabalenka has been broken 11 times.
Karolina Pliskova vs Aryna Sabalenka Tournament Statistics
|Category||Karolina Pliskova||Aryna Sabalenka|
|Sets Played (Five Matches)||10||12|
|Games Player (Five Matches)||89||97|
|Aces / Double Faults||40 / 26||34 / 22|
|1st Serve Points, Win %||81.3 %||68 %|
|2nd Serve Points, Win %||47.1 %||53.6 %|
|Break Points Against / Saved||21 / 18 (85.7%)||38 / 27 (71%)|
|Points Won / Net Approaches||41 / 53 (77%)||58 / 95 (61%)|
|2nd Serve Return Points, Win %||56.2 %||61.8 %|
|Break Points Converted / Opportunities||19 / 35 (54.3%)||24 / 47 (51 %)|
The other area to explore is the return of serve. And on that score, Sabalenka has been the superior player.
Not only has she won a better percentage of points on her opponent’s second serve, she also has had far more break-point chances, with a fairly similar conversion rate.
She also has pushed the envelope a lot more, coming to net nearly 100 times in five matches.
2021 Wimbledon Odds Tracker
Take Sabalenka on Matchup, Momentum
Pliskova has had a great 10 days. But it runs counter to the season she has been having and she may well be due for a letdown.
Pliskova is dominating out there. Winning the type of points she usually doesn’t. #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/z93FVhy05n
— Tennis GIFs 🎾🎥 (@tennis_gifs) July 6, 2021
For Sabalenka, it’s a continuation of her fine form in 2021. She’s playing an opponent she knows and who doesn’t have a ton of presence on the court, so she can take up all the space (and noise level).
It feels fairly fated to go three sets, based on previous patterns. Anything over 22 total games is in the plus (and that could happen in just two sets). So that’s worth a look, as is the possibility of at least one tiebreak (+250), and of a three-set match (+140).
Best Bet: Sabalanka in three sets (+295)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.