WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Wimbledon tips for an absorbing third-round clash between former champ Garbine Muguruza and rising star Ons Jabeur.
20:00 (AEST), Fri 2nd Jul @ All England Club, Wimbledon
History: Played 1: Muguruza 1 V Jabeur 0
Last meeting: Hobart International, 2020 (R16): Muguruza d Jabeur 3-6 6-3 7-6
Final Thoughts: Garbine Muguruza, the 2017 Wimbledon champ, is regarded as one of the foremost threats in London this year. The Spanish superstar has powered through the opening two rounds – but she confronts her first real test in the form of 21st seed Ons Jabeur.
The pair met for the first and only time at last year’s Hobart International. Muguruza came from a set down to win a lengthy clash in a third-set tie-break.
The 27-year-old Muguruza disposed of Fiona Ferro (6-0 6-1) and Lesley Kerkhove (6-1 6-4) in emphatic style. Remarkably, it’s just the third time she’s been to the third round at Wimbledon in eight visits; on the other two occasions (2015 and ’17) she reached the final.
Muguruza, the 11th seed, exited in the first round of the French Open. But she hinted at a grass-court charge with a couple of solid wins over Sorana Cirstea and Elena Rybakina at the Grass Court Championships in Berlin, before losing narrowly in the quarters to Alize Cornet.
Ons Jabeur has been equally impressive in reaching the third round. She easily accounted for Rebecca Peterson (6-2 6-1) before overwhelming modern great Venus Williams (7-5 6-0).
The 26-year-old Tunisian has been one of the WTA’s big improvers over the past couple of seasons – and one of the tour’s current in-form stars. Jabeur has now made the third round of the past seven Grand Slams, including a maiden quarter-final at last year’s Australian Open and back-to-back French Open Round of 16 appearances in 2020-21.
Most tellingly, however, Jabeur notched her first WTA title at the grass-court Birmingham Classic in June. She is a somewhat unorthodox player who prefers to go after shots rather than let the game come to her.
Jabeur is also a genuine chance at winning this tournament with some of the biggest guns either withdrawing or already eliminated. She has a 22-33 record against players who have been ranked in the top 10 and I think she has the form on the board to add to that tally as the underdog here.
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