WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Ons Jabeur and Marketa Vondrousova are a combined 0-3 in Grand Slam finals.
That will change Saturday, when they will face each other for the Wimbledon championship.
The No. 6-seeded Jabeur, a 28-year-old from Tunisia, left Wimbledon a year ago as the runner-up to Elena Rybakina, then was the runner-up to Iga Swiatek at the U.S. Open in September. Jabeur is the only Arab woman and only North African woman to get to the singles final at a major tournament.
Vondrousova, a 24-year-old from the Czech Republic, made it to the title match at the French Open four years ago as a teenager. After losing that one to Ash Barty, Vondrousova is back at that stage at a Slam as the first unseeded women’s finalist at Wimbledon since Billie Jean King in 1963.
Vondrousova wasn’t able to compete at the All England Club in 2022, because she had a cast on her left wrist after two operations. Her ranking fell after she missed about six months last season.
Both Jabeur and Vondrousova made it through difficult paths to get to Saturday.
Jabeur’s journey through the bracket was undoubtedly tougher. She beat four past Grand Slam champions along the way: Rybakina, Aryna Sabalenka, Petra Kvitova and Bianca Andreescu. Only two women in the 55-year history of the sport’s professional era have won a major tournament after needing to get past that many previous Slam champs along the way: Serena Williams at the 1999 U.S. Open and Justine Henin at the 2005 French Open.
Vondrousova, who beat Jabeur twice earlier this year, defeated four seeded opponents: No. 4 Jessica Pegula, No. 12 Veronika Kudermetova, No. 20 Donna Vekic and No. 32 Marie Bouzkova.
WHEN IS THE WOMEN’S FINAL SATURDAY?
Jabeur and Vondrousova are scheduled to walk out on Centre Court at 2 p.m. local time, which is 9 a.m. EDT, and should start shortly playing thereafter.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE MEN’S SEMIFINALS FRIDAY?
No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 2 Novak Djokovic set up a showdown for the men’s championship with straight-set semifinal victories. Djokovic saved all six break points he faced, including erasing a pair of set points in the third, while beating No. 8 Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Then Alcaraz won 17 of 20 points when he serve-and-volleyed and dominated No. 3 Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. Djokovic, a 36-year-old from Serbia, will be seeking an eighth Wimbledon trophy — and fifth in a row — as well as a 24th Grand Slam title overall. Alcaraz, a 20-year-old from Spain, will be participating in his first Wimbledon final and second at a major; he won the U.S. Open last year.
HOW TO WATCH WIMBLEDON ON TV
— In the U.S.: ESPN, Tennis Channel
— Other countries listed here.
Jabeur is, not surprisingly, the favorite in the women’s final, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, listed at minus-220. Vondrousova is at plus-184 to win. A straight-set victory by Jabeur is at plus-115; someone betting on Vondrousova to win in three sets would get plus-400. Looking ahead to the men’s final, Djokovic is a minus-215 favorite against Alcaraz (plus-176).
THE NUMBER TO KNOW
35 — Number of Grand Slam finals now reached by Novak Djokovic, breaking a tie with Chris Evert for the most in tennis history.
THE QUOTE TO KNOW
“He’s very motivated. He’s young. He’s hungry. I’m hungry, too, so let’s have a feast.” — Novak Djokovic, looking ahead to facing Alcaraz on Sunday.
UPCOMING SINGLES SCHEDULE
— Saturday: Women’s Final
— Sunday: Men’s Final