jabeurmariapick

World No. 103 Tatjana Maria lost the first set in her last match, against compatriot and fellow surprise quarterfinalist Jule Niemeier, but the 34-year-old was able to recover and earn a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. The German will now take on world No. 2 Ons Jabeur, with a spot in the Wimbledon final on the line. This is a match-up that's widely expected to go in the Tunisian’s favor, with Jabeur listed as a -900 moneyline favorite. The lopsided odds aren’t that surprising when you consider where these two players are ranked, but it would be a mistake to assume that Jabeur is going to sleepwalk her way through this match.

Maria has earned some extremely impressive victories this fortnight, defeating world No. 5 Maria Sakkari and world No. 17 Jelena Ostapenko before defeating Niemeier. And while Niemeier isn’t a well-known commodity on the WTA Tour just yet, the 22-year-old is a player that packs a lot of punch from the baseline. She’s an up-and-coming talent in the women’s game, and she also is somebody that should help Maria feel somewhat prepared for Jabeur.

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Jabeur isn’t strictly a power player—her drop shots are a big weapon—but she does have some powerful groundstrokes. With that said, Maria should have something of an idea of how to approach this match. Both of these players pride themselves on their ability to junk things up by utilizing heavy spin, and that should ultimately turn this into something of a chess match. There will be some strange-looking rallies in this one, and we just feel that it could take some time for Jabeur to really figure Maria out and get comfortable, despite her stellar play all year.

If Jabeur isn’t able to dominate right from the start, it’s going to be really hard on her to cover a 6.5-game spread. She would need to win by a score of 6-3, 6-2 or worse in order to do that, and it’s difficult to see Maria not putting up a little more of a fight than that. It also wouldn’t be all that shocking if Maria were to somehow steal a set in this one. The journeywoman didn’t come this far to just roll over in the semis. Look for her to raise her game and show a lot of fight with a spot in the final on the line.

The Pick: Maria +6.5 Games (-165)