Witthoeft vs Sabalenka 05.07.17

Wimbledon, London, UK, Grass Courts, WTA

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Today we take our first look at the women’s side of the Wimbledon draw and preview the match between German world number 65, Carina Witthoeft and Belarusian world number 136, Aryna Sabalenka.

Previous Meetings:

This is the first meeting between the pair, however both have played plenty of matches on the grass so far this year. Witthoeft got to the Quarter Finals in Hertogenbosch, losing to eventual winner Anett Kontaveit, before disappointingly failing to qualify for the tournament in Mallorca, losing to world number 153, Anna Kalinskaya in straight sets. Sabalenka has played two ITF events on the grass, the first in Manchester where she reached the Semi Finals, losing in straight sets to eventual Runner-up, Aleksandra Krunic. She then had a First Round exit in Ilkley to Jasmine Paolini, before winning three qualifying matches to reach the main draw here at Wimbledon. Both ladies have shown mixed form on the grass, but should be very comfortable with conditions out there today, and i expect both to quickly settle into a rhythm.

Wimbledon Results So Far…

Witthoeft beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in Round 1 in a quite simply crazy match! Having won the first set 6-3, the German dropped the second 5-7, she was then 0-5 down in the decider with Lucic-Baroni serving for the match when she somehow managed to win 8 out the next 9 games to take the decider 8-6. That one is going to take Lucic-Baroni a long time to get over.

Sabalenka had a far more straight forward passage through, beating world number 110, Irina Khromacheva 6-3 6-4 in an hour and a quarter. The Belarusian wasn’t broken the whole match in a very impressive display.

Serving Stats:

Witthoeft’s recent grass court mean serving stats look like this; she’s won 62% of her service points and held serve 81% of the time.

Sabalenka’s recent grass court mean serving stats look like this; she’s won 62% of her service points and held serve 76% of the time.

Both have solid slice serves, with Witthoeft just edging on the stats on face-value. The German’s stats do however these carry more weight given the quality of opposition she has faced. Both will need to keep first serve %’s high today, as any weak second serves will be punished by aggressive returns.

Returning Stats:

Witthoeft’s recent grass court mean returning stats this week look like this, she’s won 40% of his return points, 45% of her break points and opponents have held 74% of the time against her.

Sabalenka’s recent grass court mean returning stats this week look like this, she’s won 43% of her return points, 51% of her break points and opponents have held 68% of the time against her.

Witthoeft returns serve fairly aggressively, keeping the ball deep off both wings. She will also look to drive any short second serves away for winners, especially off her forehand wing.

Sabalenka also really looks to go after the return of serve, especially on that dangerous backhand side which she likes to drive down the line on the deuce side.


Witthoeft will look to hit aggressively off both wings, but favours her forehand side. She will keep the ball deep and play predominantly from the baseline. She does have the ability to mix in some low, skidding slice in off her backhand side too, which could be very effective today, especially given Sabalenka’s penchant to hitting aggressively off her favoured backhand side. The Belarusian has a mean double-hander, and if firing it can be the source of plenty of winners. She has a solid forehand also, but does tend to struggle with it when having to defend, something she may well find herself doing a lot today. She will also play from the baseline and look to be aggressive from the get-go.


This should be a very entertaining match between two attacking players. I feel like Witthoeft’s consistency should bring her through, however like Tiafoe yesterday, if Sabalenka is finding her spots with her backhand and serving a high % of first serves then a win for her is more than possible. Enjoy this one, it should be fun.

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