Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka will look to reach her first Grand Slam final when she takes on eight-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the 2021 WTA Wimbledon women’s semifinal on Thursday. The blossoming Belarusian is a solid favorite after reaching the first Grand Slam semifinal of her rising career.
On the flip side of the coin, world No. 13 Pliskova will look to pull off a career-defining upset after reaching the semis of a slam event for the second time in her career. The Wimbledon Odds for this intriguing pairing are live in the BetUS online sportsbook right now.
Match Odds: Karolina Pliskova +175 || Aryna Sabalenka -210
Game Odds: Karolina Pliskova +3 -105 || Aryna Sabalenka -3 -115
Pliskova Looks Dangerous
Pliskova is in fine form as she hits the semis without dropping a set this fortnight. The former world No. 1 (2017) reached the semis of the French Open in 2017 and the semis of the Australian Open in 2019. The lanky 6-foot-2 native of the Czech Republic also reached the finals of the U.S. Open in 2016, but has come up short each and every time when it mattered most.
Pliskova entered Wimbledon with an uninspiring 15-12 record but managed to reach the finals in Italy before being mauled by world No. 9 Iga Swiatek with a stunning double-bagel defeat. Pliskova has not had to face a seeded player during her run to the semis, but destroyed talented Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“Everything today was working quite well,” said Pliskova, who averaged 106.5 mph on her first serves, a whopping 20.5 mph faster than Golubic.
In 10 career appearances at Wimbledon, Pliskova had never gotten past the fourth round until this year. Pliskova is one of six active women on the WTA Tour to have reached the semifinals of all four majors.
Sabalenka Looks Rock-Solid
World No. 4 Sabalenka has had the look of a future Grand Slam winner all season. The gritty 23-year-old came into Wimbledon with a stellar 29-10 record and two titles. Sabalenka won it all in Abu Dhabi in January while beating a trio of top-20 players along the way. Sabalenka also claimed the crown in Madrid while beating two top-20 players, including world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the finals.
Sabalenka went the distance in her second- and fourth-round matches and won her opening-round and third-round matches in straight sets. The Belarusian dispatched No. 18 seed Elena Rybakina in the round of 16 and No. 21 seed Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“I just enjoy everything on this surface,” Sabalenka said in her post-match press conference. “It’s actually tough to play on the grass, but I really enjoy every second on the court. It’s about everything: about serving, about returning, about moving, about everything actually.”
Sabalenka also reached the quarterfinals in Miami and the finals at Stuttgart in consecutive tournaments in April before falling to Barty both times.
Sabalenka vs Pliskova Head-to-Head
Sabalenka leads Pliskova 2-0 in head-to-head meetings, with the Belarusian winning both times in three sets. Sabalenka beat Pliskova 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5) in Eastbourne on grass in 2018 and again in 2018 in Cincinnati, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
You can fully expect Pliskova to put up a real fight in order to reach her second Grand Slam final. Years ago, Pliskova had the look of a sure-fire slam winner, but that was well before she started coming up small against the world’s top players in the biggest events on the WTA Tour.
Now, it is the feisty Sabalenka that has the look of a future slam winner and a player that I liked a lot to challenge for the title at Wimbledon. As predicted last month, I just don’t see Pliskova in the same light as I once did while expecting Sabalenka to challenge for the outright win as a pre-tournament +1200 pick.
Pliskova has a big, powerful serve, but when it comes to every other aspect of the game, Sabalenka is superior. Ultimately, I’m expecting this semifinal showdown to come down to a matchup of grit, determination and groundstrokes, at which the world No. 4 is simply better. This meeting has the look of one that will go the distance, but in the end, Sabalenka has to be the pick to win and advance.
As an added bonus wager, play Sabalenka at +300 to win 2-1. But certainly take her to make the finals.