Wimbledon Women's Semi-Finals: Barty The One To Beat As Sabalenka Targets Title

The final four take to the stage on Thursday with only one former champ between them
16:10, 07 Jul 2021

The women’s Wimbledon semi-finalists were confirmed on Tuesday after a brutal round of quarter-final matches which saw every tie decided in straight sets. Just like England, these four women will be desperate to get through their semi-finals and compete in the showpiece event this weekend, but what are their chances of winning - and how did they get this far? 

Ashleigh Barty 

The Barty party is in full swing at SW19 this year as the Australian has made the final four for the very first time. This may come as a surprise, as the 2019 French Open winner has been ranked number one in the world for the last two years, but she seems to have returned from her extended break more focused than ever. 

Now 25, Barty took extra time off last year as a precautionary measure due to concerns about travel and Covid-19 before making the quarters at the Australian Open in January. Injury cut short her run at the French, but now she looks back to her best and is now favourite to lift the trophy on Centre Court for the very first time. 

She faces a tough test against Angelique Kerber in the semi, but having overcome Barbora Krejcikova in the round of 16 and absolutely demolished Ajla Tomljanovic in the quarters, she looks like the woman to beat heading into the final four. 

 

Angelique Kerber

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Angelique Kerber boasts something the other three have never achieved in their careers. She has won Wimbledon before, back in 2018 when she beat Serena Williams in straight sets, while the 29-year-old has also tasted success at the Australian and the US Opens.

But in the three years since, her form has been way off. Shock first-round exits in three consecutive years at the French Open proved it is her least favourite surface, but her round-one exit in Melbourne this year raised a few eyebrows. She cited a lack of preparation due to quarantining for that performance, but even so, few would have had her down to reach the final four at Wimbledon this year. 

She’s got the experience, but she has done it the hard way. Tough three-set battles in rounds two and three set up a tie with the much-fancied Coco Gauff and, to everyone’s surprise, she completely outplayed the teenager. She has improved as the tournament has progressed and, given her opponent Barty has never reached this stage before, she could cause an upset on Thursday. 

 

Aryna Sabalenka

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Ranked fourth in the world, and second seed at this tournament, it would be no surprise to see 

Aryna Sabalenka go all the way and secure her very first Grand Slam title. At just 23, she is the youngest competitor left but has shown great composure to drag herself this far.

Normally used to doubles success (she won the Australian Open this year alongside Elise Mertens), Sabalenka is now making serious inroads into the singles game and 2021 looks like being a breakthrough year for the Belarusian. She’s beaten the likes of Katie Boulter and Elena Rybakina over three sets to make it this far, but she faces a tough test if she is to make it to her very first Grand Slam final. 

 

Karolina Pliskova

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One final, three semi-finals and four quarter-finals. With no Grand Slam titles to date. Karolina Pliskova is so often the bridesmaid but never the bride it seems, yet this time the Czech star seems more focused than ever in her quest to win a major title. 

She is the only one of the four semi-finalists yet to drop a set at this year’s Wimbledon, while at 29 she boasts years of experience on her semi-final competitor. She may be the outsider with the bookies to lift the title, but there is a lot to like about her chances. This is her best ever run at SW19 but she has now reached the semi-final stage of every major on the tour and, up against a comparatively inexperienced Sabalenka, will hope she has the nous to steer herself to the final.

This may be a slightly different version of the brilliantly talented player we saw in 2017, but Pliskova could spring a surprise just by making Saturday’s showpiece final. She’s certainly got the talent, now it is about finding consistency in those crucial moments.

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