Photo: Tennis Canada
Welcome to the Road to the National Bank Open. Every week, we will keep you updated on all the action on the WTA Tour as we build towards the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Toronto, which takes place from Aug. 8 to 14.
DAYS UNTIL THE NATIONAL BANK OPEN: 33
We’ve reached the business end of the third Grand Slam event on the tennis calendar with the last women standing at Wimbledon aiming to win the most prestigious title in tennis.
In the absence of World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who saw her remarkable win streak come to an end courtesy of fiery Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet, two new favourites have emerged and appear destined to meet in Saturday’s championship match.
On one side of the draw, third-seeded Ons Jabeur continues to make history as the first Arab player, man or woman, to reach a Grand Slam semifinal and she’ll love her chances to make the final against Germany’s Tatjana Maria.
On the other half of the draw, Simona Halep, the lone former Wimbledon champion remaining, is at the top of her game having not lost a set through her first five matches. Her experience will serve her well as the occasion gets bigger.
Beyond Jabeur and Halep, there are some compelling stories being written by the other players still in title contention. They’re hoping their Cinderella runs end with a trophy in hand.
STORIES TO WATCH:
ANOTHER GRAND SLAM-WINNING MOM?
As a 34-year-old mom of two, Maria’s surprise final four appearance at Wimbledon is nothing short of inspiring. Prior to this result, she had made 46 Grand Slam appearances and only made it past the second round once. Maria and Jabeur are actually great friends which adds a fun layer to their semifinal.
CAN ANYONE STOP HALEP?
After struggling for much of the 2021 season, Halep has been rejuvenated this year by the arrival of her new coach Patrick Mouratoglou who worked with Serena Williams for a long time. The Romanian loves the grass of the All-England Club and she lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish in 2019, the last time she played the event.
It won’t be easy to overcome the last hurdle before the final though with the fast-rising and big-hitting Elena Rybakina standing in her way. The 23-year-old reached her first Major semifinal thanks to a three-set win over Ajla Tomljanovic.
If you’re searching for a dose of tennis nostalgia, look no further than the Wimbledon legends event which features several recent retirees teaming up and proving they’ve still got game. Some of the all-star duos include Kim Clijsters and Martina Hingis, Jelena Jankovic and Agnieszka Radwanska, Daniela Hantuchova and Laura Robson along with Italians Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone.
Wimbledon celebrated the 100th anniversary of its famed centre court this weekend by inviting some of the tournament’s past winners to take part in the festivities. On hand for the parade of champions were the likes of Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, and Venus Williams.
Unfortunately, nine-time singles champion Martina Navratilova, who holds the record for most singles titles, was unable to attend after testing positive for COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, the event produced some memorable moments, including a legendary selfie with Venus and Bjorn Borg.
Sloane Stephens may have suffered an early Wimbledon exit, but the American took advantage of a free few days in London to attend the Formula 1 British Grand Prix. She got a VIP tour of the track, the team garages, and even met Tom Cruise!
Don’t miss your chance to see the best WTA players up close this summer. Get your tickets now!