Aryna Sabalenka is on the verge of ending Iga Swiatek’s 67-week reign as the Hologic WTA Tour’s top-ranked player, with just one more victory needed. Following a convincing 6-2, 6-4 win over the 25th seed Madison Keys in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, Sabalenka now faces a challenge against the 6th seed Ons Jabeur. Jabeur secured her place in the semifinals by defeating the defending champion Elena Rybakina in a hard-fought three-set match.
When asked about her motivation, Sabalenka expressed her desire for both the chance to win her first Wimbledon title and attain the No. 1 ranking. However, she emphasized the importance of focusing on her own game and not getting distracted by external factors. Sabalenka believes that maintaining her focus on the court is crucial, and only time will tell if she is ready to ascend to the top ranking or reach another final.
Sabalenka holds an impressive record of reaching at least the semifinals in the last four Grand Slam tournaments. As the reigning Australian Open champion, she has won 17 out of 18 matches in this year’s majors, matching Serena Williams’ achievement in 2015. Jabeur, on the other hand, sought redemption after losing last year’s Wimbledon final to Rybakina. In a thrilling quarterfinal match, Jabeur emerged victorious, overcoming a set deficit and a 4-4 tie in the second set to win 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-1. This victory marked her third career Grand Slam semifinal appearance.
Reflecting on her progress, Jabeur acknowledged the lessons she learned from last year’s final and expressed pride in her mental, physical, and tennis racquet improvements. She believes that her previous experience was necessary for her current success and feels it was destined for her to reach the quarterfinals this year. Notably, the Jabeur-Rybakina match was the first rematch between the prior year’s finalists at Wimbledon since Serena and Venus Williams faced off in consecutive finals in 2008 and 2009.
In summary, Sabalenka stands on the brink of dethroning Swiatek as the No. 1-ranked player, while Jabeur aims to continue her remarkable Wimbledon journey after avenging last year’s defeat.