Aryna Sabalenka could tell before Wimbledon even started that Ons Jabeur would be one of the women to beat at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.
And now the second-seeded Sabalenka awaits a matchup against the No. 6-seeded Jabeur in the semifinals on Thursday.
“Actually we practised here before Wimbledon,” Sabalenka said of Jabeur. “I felt like she's going to do well here because she played unbelievable tennis on the practice court. ... We always had tough battles against each other, very close matches. I'm really looking forward for this great battle.”
Sabalenka has been the most consistent performer in Grand Slams this year, winning the Australian Open and reaching the semifinals at the French Open before her run to the last four at the All England Club, where she beat Madison Keys in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Jabeur, meanwhile, is looking for her first major title after losing in the US Open final last year. She came from a set down to beat defending champion Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Jabeur said she expects the semifinal to become very emotional on the court because both players are prone to show their feelings during matches.
“Probably her shouting that way, me shouting this way,” Jabeur said. “I'm going to try my best to stay focused and take every opportunity. Aryna is more emotional than Elena, so maybe it could be a good or bad thing, I'm not sure. But let's see tomorrow.”
The other semifinal features two unseeded women - Elina Svitolina and Marketa Vondrousova.
Svitolina beat top-ranked Iga Swiatek on Tuesday to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal since returning to the tour after a break to have her first child. She also reached two major semis in 2019, the same year Vondrousova reached the French Open final. Vondrousova had never been past the second round at Wimbledon before this year, though, and missed the tournament the last two years with injuries.