The 2021 Wimbledon Championships will host its penultimate round for the women on Thursday. And while upsets have often been the norm on the WTA tour, the semifinals feature a formidable lineup this time around.
World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will take on three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber in the top half. The bottom half, meanwhile, will pit former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova against second seed Aryna Sabalenka.
As the quartet vie for a place in the finals, we take a look at their respective journeys so far – through the statistical lens of the figures they have compiled across the five rounds. The glossary of the abbreviations used in the article can be found here.
Wimbledon Round of 128
Carla Suarez Navarro didn’t have enough matches under her belt for her Elo rating to be calculated or estimated. Hence, the ‘OE’ value for Ashleigh Barty has been left blank for this round.
Karolina Pliskova faced the toughest opponent on paper, both by ranking and by Elo. Angelique Kerber performed the best on serve this round, while Aryna Sabalenka fared the best on the return.
Sabalenka and Barty were both the best at the net, as well as when their opponents were there. But the Belarusian registered the best differential percentage as well as the best dominance ratio, and was clearly the best performer in this round.
Round of 64
Karolina Plisova had the toughest second round on paper but she fared magnificently.
The Czech notched up the best numbers on serve and on the return of the second serve. She didn’t face a single break point, and didn’t lose a single net point either. More importantly, she recorded the best percentage differential and the best dominance ratio.
Ashleigh Barty fared the best when her opponent was at the net. She also won the highest percentage of return points in this round.
Round of 32
Ashleigh Barty had the toughest third round on paper, while Angelique Kerber had the easiest. The three-time Grand Slam champion made the most of it as was performed brilliantly in every department. She was the best on serve and perfect at the net.
Aryna Sabalenka fared the best on the return and also had the best dominance ratio. However, her match was riddled with unforced errors from both ends.
Kerber’s performance, however, was chock full of winners and devoid of errors, which reflects her high differential percentage. And given her dominance ratio is less than Sabalenka’s by only a fraction, the German is the clear winner of this round.
Round of 16
The Round of 16 was where the four semifinalists were most evenly matched. All of them recorded a win percentage on serve in the 60s and a win percentage on return in the 40s.
Aryna Sabalenka won the most points at the net, Angelique Kerber didn’t lose a point in the forecourt, and Karolina Pliskova was the best when her opponent was at the net.
Differential percentages and dominance ratios are also closely packed in this round, with Kerber edging out the others in the former and Pliskova doing so in the latter.
Combining the stats obtained from all five rounds of action, we arrive at the following results from each of the categories:
Even though Aryna Sabalenka has faced the easiest opponents by ranking on average (110), they have been the most difficult as per their Elo ratings (1700). Meanwhile, Angelique Kerber has had the most difficult path on average if we were to consider rankings (56).
Karolina Pliskova is the clear winner in this department, having won 70% of her service points on average across each match.
She also leads in the number of aces (40), average first-serve percentage (65%), average percentage of points won on the first serve (83%) and percentage of break points saved (86%). In addition to that, the Czech has also faced the fewest number of break points (18).
Among the remaining categories, Angelique Kerber has had the fewest double faults (14). She also shares the top spot with Pliskova for having the highest average first-serve percentage.
Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka has won the highest percentage of points on average behind her second serve (54%), and has also saved the highest number of break points so far (27).
On the return, Ashleigh Barty leads in most columns. She has won the highest percentage of return points on average (50%). She also leads in the average percentage of points won against the first serve (45%), number of break points raised (51) and number of break points converted (25).
The Australian shares the No. 1 position with Aryna Sabalenka in the average percentage of return points won. The Belarusian, meanwhile, leads in the average percentage of return points won against the second serve.
Angelique Kerber has broken serve 25 times – the same as Barty – but at the highest conversion rate among the four semifinalists (54%).
Aryna Sabalenka has visited the net the highest number of times by a distant margin (95), and has also won the most points there (58). However, she has also been the most wasteful in the forecourt, winning only 61% of such points.
Karolina Pliskova has been the most efficient in that department; the Czech has won 41 of the 53 points (77%) she has played at the net.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty and Angelique Kerber have fared the best when their opponents have been at the net, winning 58% of such points.
Distance per point
Karolina Pliskova has played the fewest points so far (606) and has also covered the least distance on court (14.165 km). However, she is second when considering the least distance covered per point (23.37 m).
Aryna Sabalenka covers the least (20.94 m) while Angelique Kerber does the most (29.26 m).
Winners, errors & dominance ratio
Aryna Sabalenka has hit the most winners (157), while Angelique Kerber has hit the fewest (117). The Belarusian, however, has also committed the highest number of unforced errors (142), whereas Karolina Pliskova has committed the fewest (105).
When it comes to the percentage of unforced errors, Kerber has the lowest number (15%). On the other hand, Sabalenka registers the highest percentage of winners as well (22%).
Pliskova has the highest percentage differential between winners and unforced errors (3%), while Ashleigh Barty has the lowest (0%).
The Czech also has the highest dominance ratio (1.32), while Barty (1.26), Kerber (1.25) and Sabalenka (1.24) are dispersed very closely.