AP Photo/Alastair Grant
The word that best describes the ground for the 2022 Wimbledon Women’s Singles Final is unexpected.
The last two women standing, Ons Jabeur and Elena Rybakina, are in a major final for the first time in their careers, marking Wimbledon’s first women’s championship with the first two major finalists playing in the open era.
Moreover, Jabeur, the No. 2 ranked player in the world, is the first African and Arab tennis player to reach a major final.
To get there, Jabeur and Rybakina had to triumph respectively over Tatjana Maria and Simona Halep in the semi-finals.
Neither woman has gone past the quarters at a major so far, but both are just one win away from history and have the right to hold the Venus Rosewater Dish above their head.
Here’s the latest on how fans can watch the final at the All England Club.
Ladies’ singles final
When: Saturday, July 9
Time: 8 a.m. ET (1 p.m. BST)
This latest match between Jabeur and Rybakina is one of many firsts, so whoever wins, it will be a great story for women’s tennis.
“It’s a dream come true after years and years of hard work and sacrifice,” Jabeur said via Yahoo Sports. “I’m really happy it’s paying off. I’m continuing for one more game now.
“I’m a proud Tunisian woman to be here today. I know in Tunisia they’re going crazy right now. I’m just trying to inspire as much as I can.”
In addition to this match being the first major final for both players, it will be one that features a distinct contrast in playstyles.
Rybakina is known as the ‘Ace Queen’ for hitting the ball with power, while Jabeur is known as the ‘Minister of Happiness’ in her home country and deploys drop shots and other tricks in her box tools to defeat an opponent.
Rybakina, 23, will rely on his power and wide serves to claim victory.
In her semifinal match against Halep, she used a lot of slices and groundstrokes to advance against her opponent, who had a terrible day serving on the grass.
Rybakina’s height was also a problem for Halep. This allowed him to hit short, wide serves and could be a nice advantage over Jabeur, who is just 5’6″ on Saturday.
To claim victory, Jabeur will have to use his ability to step in and kick the ball and, of course, his drop shots.
“I think it will be a great match,” Rybakina said in his post match interview. “She is [Jabeur] a very good player, a very delicate player. It’s not easy to play against his drop shots.
“It’s time to enjoy and really have fun on the court.”
If Rybakina plays like she did on Thursday against Halep, Jabeur is in trouble.
But if Jabeur can use her drop shots effectively and harness Rybakina’s power, she has a good chance of picking up the win.
Either way, this should be a finals match that tennis fans won’t soon forget.