Does the New Zealand Cinderella fairytale continue?

The 137th edition of the women’s singles at the Wimbledon Championships is currently making several entries in the history books. Responsible for this is not only the first round exit of defending champion Markéta Vondroušová, who is only the second woman after Steffi Graf (1994) to be eliminated in her first match after winning the title, but above all a New Zealand qualifier, who now meets Donna Vekic in the form of Lulu Sun – we provide tips and odds for this unexpected quarter-final in this article

The 23-year-old player from Te Anau is the first New Zealander to reach the quarter-finals of the Wimbledon Championships. She is also the first qualifier since Kaia Kanepi (2010) to reach the quarter-finals of the London grass court Grand Slam. Nevertheless, the odds on Lulu Sun v Donna Vekic are more in favor of the Croatian advancing

However, it should be noted that Donna Vekic has never made it past the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament in her career. At the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, the 28-year-old is also in the quarter-finals for the first time in her career and is thus entering uncharted territory. Against this backdrop, we see a 50:50 situation with an unclear outcome and possibly even a slight advantage for the New Zealander, who as the underdog can play a little more freely here. Because the odds are so clearly in the Croatian’s favor for Lulu Sun against Donna Vekic, there is a lot of value for the supposed underdog bet.

Of course, we would also like to recommend two lower-risk options. Firstly, it makes sense to bet that Donna Vekic will win under 12.5 games. This not only works with a commanding 2:0 win for the favorite, but probably also with almost every defeat. Alternatively, you can bet at Happybet at odds of 1.77 that Lulu Sun will win at least one set regardless of the outcome of the match

Lulu Sun – Statistics & current form

Current position in the world rankings: 123
Position in the seeding list: Qualifier

Since Belinda Cordwell reached the last 16 of the Australian Open in 1989, there has never been a New Zealander to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament. Until 23-year-old Lulu Sun came practically out of nowhere at this year’s edition of the Wimbledon Championships.

For the player from Te Anau, the journey has now even gone beyond the round of 16. This makes her the first New Zealander in the Open Era to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. The player, who has grown up in Switzerland since the age of six, could well have played under the Swiss flag, but switched to the New Zealand Association in March of this year.

Will Lulu Sun set more records?

It may also be due to this change that we are currently witnessing an explosion of performance from the 23-year-old, who is also the first qualifier to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals since Kaia Kanepi (2010). If Lulu Sun wins her next match against Donna Vekic, she could even reach the semi-finals as a qualifier.

That’s certainly not completely far-fetched, as the New Zealander even managed to knock out a former Grand Slam winner (US Open 2021) in Emma Raducanu recently, after the 23-year-old had already beaten Qinwen Zheng, this year’s Australian Open finalist, 2-1 in round one after trailing 0-1 in sets

Lulu Sun rewarded herself for her high-risk game

The fact that nobody really had Lulu Sun on their radar and that the late bloomer’s rise was in no way in the offing is particularly curious. At the Wimbledon Championships, she successfully qualified for the women’s singles of a Grand Slam tournament for only the second time in her career. She also went winless on her debut at the Australian Open 2024.

And yet she was not given anything as a gift on her way to the quarter-finals. Rather, the New Zealander, who recently impressed against Emma Raducanu with an almost unbelievable 46 percent of return points won on the fast grass, especially on her opponent’s serve, and took the Brit’s service game in five out of 13 cases, played her way into the hearts of the crowd with some very risky and aggressive play (52 winners with 44 unforced errors) and evoked memories of Jelena Ostapenko, who once won the French Open with her snotty, high-risk tennis.

Donna Vekic – statistics & current form

Current position in the world rankings: 37
Position in the seeding list: unseeded

The 28-year-old Croatian Donna Vekic has also made it to the quarter-finals of the Wimbledon Championships as an unseeded player. This is also new territory for the lady from Osijek. In nine previous appearances in the women’s singles of the only Grand Slam tournament to be held on grass, she has only achieved a total of eight victories.

Now, with four more wins, she has reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the third time after the 2019 US Open and the 2023 Australian Open. However, Vekic has never made it past the round of the top eight players before

The experience and the surface speak for Donna Vekic

Now, however, the odds are clearly in Lulu Sun’s favor against Donna Vekic, the number 37 in the WTA world rankings, who goes into this unexpected quarter-final with a slight advantage simply because of her experience from her 43 appearances at Grand Slam tournaments.

The Croatian can already boast her first successes on grass. In 2017, she won a WTA International in Nottingham and secured one of her four singles titles on the WTA Tour to date on the fast surface

Donna Vekic must improve on her own serve again

The 28-year-old’s very powerful serve, with which she gets a few free points and aces, especially on grass, is a fundamental advantage. It remains to be seen whether she can completely take the wind out of the sails of the New Zealander, who is so strong on returns.

After all, her first serve in the round of 16 against Paula Badosa was only received 61 percent of the time. And because she only won 40 percent of her points on her second serve, she also lost her service game three times. This should provide her opponent with plenty to attack, especially as the five double faults compared to just four aces showed that Donna Vekic – dismissed by some critics as an eternal talent – is lacking a lot to be the best in the world

Lulu Sun – Donna Vekic head-to-head comparison / H2H record

Head to head: 0:0

Never before have the two players faced each other in a rated singles match on the WTA Tour. Consequently, there is no head-to-head data available that could influence our predictions for Lulu Sun vs Donna Vekic in any way

Lulu Sun – Donna Vekic prediction

Few experts are likely to have had one of the two players on their Wimbledon overall winner predictions in advance. Moreover, one of them will now be breaking new ground and reaching a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time in her career. However, there is no “head-to-head” data available and both women have impressed in their own way over the course of the tournament, so we see a thoroughly unclear 50:50 situation. Because the betting odds for Lulu Sun against Donna Vekic lean towards the Croatian, the value can only be found in the underdog bet

Accordingly, we recommend predicting that the New Zealand qualifier will continue her Cinderella story and even storm into the semi-finals at the Wimbledon Championships.

Bet365 is offering odds of 3.40 for this, which we are playing cautiously with two units due to the high risk. It’s certainly not a bad idea to use a low-risk free bet when placing a bet

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