Only eight women remain in the ladies bracket at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships. Top-seeded Ashleigh Barty is the biggest favourite on the board on Tuesday and is also the favourite to win the whole tournament at +185. Her matchup with Ajla Tomljanovic marks the first time two Australian women have met in a tennis major quarter-final since Wimbledon in 1980. Here’s a look at their matchup in the Wimbledon quarter-finals and the three matches leading up to it.
Karolina Pliskova (-212.77) vs Viktorija Golubic (+184)
No one Karolina Pliskova has faced yet in this tournament has had an answer for her monster serve. The former world no.1 has cruised to straight-sets victories over Tamara Zidansek, Donna Vekic, Tereza Martincova and Ludmilla Samsanova. Pliskova had been eliminated in the first round of each of her last two tournaments, but she has suddenly found her form at Wimbledon and looks like a legitimate threat to win the whole thing.
Viktorija Golubic had to battle to escape her first round matchup against Veronika Kudermetova with a 3-6, 6-1, 11-9 victory. It’s been fairly smooth sailing since then however as Golubic has picked up straight-sets wins over Danielle Collins, Madison Brengle, and Madison Keys. Golubic has won eight of her last nine matches played on grass courts and has beaten Pliskova before. But that match came all the way back in 2016 and was played on hard court, so there isn’t much to learn from that one.
Statistically, these two women look very similar on paper with one glaring difference: Pliskova’s clear edge in the service game. Pliskova has 179 aces this season to Golubic’s 14. With Pliskova in top form and holding that big of an edge on serves, this feels like a favourable matchup for her.
Karolina Pliskova 2-0
Aryna Sabalenka (-140.85) vs Ons Jabeur (+120)
Aryna Sabalenka is rated no.4 in the WTA world rankings and is seeded no.2 in this tournament. She has played well and is coming off of a solid 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Elena Rybakina in the Round of 16. Sabelenka has outstanding raw power and deserves to be the favourite in this matchup.
But we aren’t quite ready to stop riding with Ons Jabeur in this tournament. Jabeur has become a fan favourite at Wimbledon with come-from-behind victories as an underdog over Garbine Muguruza (5-7, 6-3, 6-2) and Iga Swiatek (5-7, 6-1, 6-1). She won the Birmingham Classic two weeks ago and is just playing some excellent tennis; Jabeur is worth a shot to continue her run as an underdog again here.
Ons Jabeur 2-1
Angelique Kerber (-147.06) vs Karolina Muchova (+126)
Angelique Kerber played her best match of the tournament on Monday in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Coco Gauff to advance into the quarterfinals. Kerber needed three sets to defeat Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Sara Sorribes Tormo in her previous two matches, but she found an extra gear in her win over Gauff.
Kerber will need to continue to play at this same level against a very game opponent in Karolina Muchova. Muchova has already knocked off a pair of ranked opponents in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (7-5, 6-3) and Paula Badosa (7-6, 6-4) in this event. There is some clear value on Muchova here in what should be a very competitive match on Tuesday. But we’ll side with Kerber to continue playing well and to improve to 3-0 all-time against Muchova.
Angelique Kerber 2-1
Ashleigh Barty (-454.55) vs Ajla Tomljanovic (+369)
Ashleigh Barty faced her toughest test of the tournament on Wednesday and passed it easily with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Barbora Krejcikova. Barty seems to have benefited from the time off that she took to get healthy leading up to this event. The world no.1 has three singles titles this season (Melbourne, Miami and Stuttgart) and is clearly the one to beat in this field if she remains in form.
Ajla Tomljanovic deserves credit for playing well and getting to this point, but it is worth noting that she has not faced a ranked opponent at Wimbledon until now. She appeared to be on her way to a straight-sets win over Emma Raducanu in the round of 16 before Raducanu withdrew from the matchdown 4-6, 0-3. Tomljanovic earned her second and third round victories over Alize Cornet and Jelena Ostapenko in three sets. Barring any major surprises, this should be a pretty easy win for Barty.
Ashleigh Barty 2-0