One player is a young and feisty overachiever that is at the pinnacle of her profession. The other is a former world No. 1 that has underachieved more times than I can remember.
The former is looking to cement her status as the top player in women’s tennis today while the latter is looking to finally cash in after bouncing checks like a basketball for the vast majority of her career.
Will gritty world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty take care of business as the sportsbook betting favorite or will veteran Karolina Pliskova continue her stellar run as the underdog to claim what has been an elusive first grand slam title?
With the 2021 women’s Wimbledon championship going down live on Saturday, July 10, we’re all set for an intriguing battle that could end up being one of the more memorable matches in recent WTA Tour times.
The odds to win the 2021 Wimbledon Odds are offering a ton of value in the BetUS online sportsbook right now.
Moneyline: Karolina Pliskova +220 || Ashleigh Barty -260
Handicap: Karolina Pliskova +3½ (+110) || Ashleigh Barty -3½ (-130)
Pliskova The Punisher
Karolina Pliskova has punished her opponents through six matches. Just four year ago, the former world No. 1 won her first five matches in straight sets, but didn’t get a bunch of attention for her efforts seeing as how the lanky, Czech didn’t face a seeded player during her run to the semifinals.
Now, though, Pliskova looks more dangerous than ever after dispatching dangerous second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday to reach her second grand slam final, despite my prediction otherwise.
Still, just 29-years-old, the 6’1” Pliskova is one of only six active players to have reached the semifinals at all four majors. Unfortunately, the 16-time WTA Tour title winner has come up short each and every time when it’s mattered most, losing her only grand slam final appearance at the 2016 US Open against Angelique Kerber, then the top-ranked player in the world.
This year, Pliskova entered Wimbledon with an uninspiring 15-12 record and no titles, though she did reach the finals in Rome where she was destroyed by world No. 9 Iga Swiatek via a stunning double bagel.
Now, that seems like a distant memory with Pliskova playing up to her full potential by routinely raining down aces and using her punishing groundstrokes to completely overpower her opponents. More importantly, Pliskova showed some impressive mental fortitude to get past the gritty Sabalenka in the semifinals after dropping the first set and closed out the match with a booming ace. Pliskova enters the final against Barty looking to become just the third Czech woman ever to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish, and the first since Petra Kvitova in 2014.
Barty’s A Bad Mamma Jamma
Ashleigh Barty is only 5’5”, but you’d never know it the way she cranks up a big serve and uses her own, equally punishing groundstrokes to beat her opponents into submission. The 25-year-old world No. 1 had to go the distance to beat veteran Carla Suarez-Navarro and her one-handed backhand in the first round, but the 2019 French Open champion has looked increasingly dominant since then.
Barty entered Wimbledon with a stellar 28-6 mark on the year with three titles in Melbourne, Miami and Stuttgart, all after returning from a 11-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seed at Wimbledon beat No. 14 seed and 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejčíková in the fourth round on Monday in her first match against a seeded player and held off Kerber, the 2018 Wimbledon champion via a fairly dominant 6-3, 7-6 (3) win in the semis on Thursday again, despite my pick otherwise.
The 2019 French Open champion reached the semis in the 2020 Australian Open before shutting down her season a year ago because of COVID-19 concerns. Barty has also made runs to the fourth round at the US Open in her last two appearances in New York (2018, 2019). Now Barty is looking to claim her second grand slam title after never having surpassed her run to the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019. Barty is looking to become the first Australian woman to be crowned champion at the All England Club since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.
Barty and Pliskova have met seven times with Barty coming out on top five times. Barty has won the last three meetings, but four of their meetings went the distance including at Stuttgart this year, where Barty prevailed 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Ashleigh Barty has a great serve for a player of her size and consistent groundstrokes. The Australian uses deft backhand slices to maneuver her opponents around the court before unleashing speedy and deadly accurate winners.
On the flip side of the coin, Karolina Pliskova possesses one of the game’s best serves which she has used to perfection throughout this fortnight. The Czech moves extremely well for a player of her size and has her own formidable groundstrokes and solid consistency off of both wings.
I’m expecting Pliskova, who appears to be a lot mentally tougher than in years past, to pull off the upset because of her edge in the service game and focus on claiming her first grand slam title.
Expect this match to reach or exceed a 22-game total, but the line’s already moved off it its open of 21½. Still it’s worth a bet at even money (or the alternate 21 -135o). In an epic thriller like this, the +225 odds of a tiebreaker are appealing, as is calling the final 2-1 at +550. In the end, Karolina Pliskova should prevail.