WATCH: Carlos Alcaraz advanced to his first career grass-court semifinal with a straight-sets win over Sebastian Korda.

With Wimbledon just over a week away, the world’s best tennis players are rapidly hoping to sharpen their skills and build confidence in hopes of peaking perfectly for The Championships. Here’s a look a three intriguing grass-court finals set to take place on Sunday, each featuring a vast range of styles, personalities and storylines.

Krejcikova vs. Ostapenko, Birmingham: Past Roland Garros champs are also made for grass

A fascinating style contrast is set for championship Sunday at the Rothesay Classic between past Roland Garros singles champions, Barbora Krejcikova (2021) and Jelena Ostapenko (2017). These two won Roland Garros in vastly different ways. And yet, their respective styles also make both formidable on the grass.

Having generated many results in doubles before stepping up her singles game, world No. 12 Krejcikova is an all-court player, comfortable at mixing up speeds and spins. She’s also smooth when it comes to navigating the transition area. This is Krejcikova’s 10th career singles final (6-3) and second of 2023. That prior effort was incredible, a title run in Dubai highlighted by five wins over players ranked inside the Top 12–Daria Kasatkina (saving four match points), Petra Kvitova, Aryna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula, and, in the final, a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Iga Swiatek.

The 17th-ranked Ostapenko wins with raw firepower. On grass, she’s also able to move forward to volley when the opportunity presents itself. At Ostapenko’s best, she takes time away from her opponents on a par with such greats as Maria Sharapova and Monica Seles. But the low-margin aspects of Ostapenko’s game can make her matches rollercoaster-like; all four of her Birmingham wins have been three-setters. Nonetheless, she’s at last reached her first final of 2023 and the 14th of her career (5-8). Also boosting Ostapenko’s confidence is that she’s 4-2 versus Krejcikova, including beating her the most recent time they played–last month in Rome.


As well as Krejcikova and Ostapenko can play, neither fared well recently at the scene of past glory. Krejcikova was beaten in the first round of Roland Garros by 66th-ranked Lesia Tsurenko. Ostapenko went out one round later to No. 69, Peyton Stearns. So this Birmingham final offers the chance for each to make a major statement prior to yet another major.

Alcaraz vs. de Minaur in Queen's: Yet another epic?

Given how much delight Carlos Alcaraz takes in the drop shot, how could he resist hitting one now? After all, there he was, in the semis of the Cinch Championships versus Sebastian Korda, one point away from his first ATP grass-court singles final.

But this was not the best of drop shots. It floated deeper and higher than desired. In dashed Korda to strike a backhand down-the-line. His shot, too, was not particularly deep. Alcaraz stood just behind the service line–at which point, he whipped an untouchable, cross-court forehand passing shot to close out a 6-3, 6-4 victory. That simple, right?

Alcaraz’s opponent is 18th-ranked Alex de Minaur, yet another in a long line of gritty Australians. In Saturday’s semi, de Minaur upset second-seeded Holger Rune, 6-3, 7-6(2). It’s fitting that de Minaur is the first Aussie to reach the finals at this tournament since Lleyton Hewitt went that far in 2006. Hewitt has been a mentor for de Minaur, not just as an iconic player, but also because the two have similar playing styles–tenacious all-courters, their flat strokes eminently productive on low-bouncing, fast-moving grass.


Then again, the only time de Minaur and Alcaraz have played one another was a superb clay-court battle. In a three-hour, 40-minute thriller played last year in the semis of Barcelona, the Spaniard fought off two match points before winning 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4. And while Alcaraz has yet to win a grass-court title, de Minaur went the distance at Eastbourne two years ago.

Familiar with both surface and opponent, de Minaur on this occasion has all the pieces in place to feel that he too is a man of destiny and greatness.

Berlin: Let us now praise Petra Kvitova

Many stories have defined 33-year-old Petra Kvitova’s journey. There’s the origins story, of an ambitious Czech seeking to emulate the accomplishments of a compatriot and fellow lefty, Martina Navratilova. There are tales of triumph, including two Wimbledon singles wins (2011, 2014).  And, sadly, there’s also been tragedy; in 2016, Kvitova was the victim of a knife attack that threatened to end far more than her tennis career.

Then there’s the character-revealing anecdote.  The day after her second Wimbledon title run, Kvitova personally cleaned the house she’d rented for the entire tournament.

Kvitova’s unpretentious manner has long made her popular with peers and fans. So naturally, it’s been nice to see Kvitova enjoy a resurgent 2023. She finished 2022 ranked 16th, hardly familiar territory for this frequent Top 10 player who’s gone 30-11 in WTA singles finals. This year’s comeback has been greatly fueled by a title run in Miami.


Now back up to No. 9, Kvitova is eager to win another grass-court title and be as sharp as possible in hopes of yet another great Wimbledon. For even if that last victory happened nearly a decade ago, Kvitova’s crisp, lefty serve and concussive groundstrokes make her a grass-court perennial. In Berlin at the bett1open, Kvitova has yet to lose a set and is 4-1 versus her final opponent, Donna Vekic. Their most recent match came in Miami, with Kvitova winning 6-4, 7-6(3).

Ranked 69th at the end of 2022, Vekic has soared up to a current spot of No. 23 and in Berlin has earned two wins over Top 10 players: reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and Maria Sakkari. This is Vekic’s 12th WTA singles final (4-7). Her 2023 ascendance has been highlighted by a title run in Monterrey, capped by a win over No. 5 Caroline Garcia in the final.