On Saturday, Russian-born Elena Rybakina overcame a set deficit against world number two Ons Jabeur to win the Wimbledon championship, denying Jabeur the opportunity to create African tennis history.
The 17th seed, representing Kazakhstan, regrouped and dropped only four more games en route to a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Jabeur, who was in the lead early in the match.
Champion: “I’ve never felt anything like this before.” “Congratulations to Ons for all of his accomplishments.
“You are a source of inspiration for Tunisians and all people. You played an outstanding game.”
The 27-year-old Jabeur broke Rybakina in the third game of the encounter as the Kazakh’s backhand went long.
She then held to love with a delectable backhand pass that she angled beyond her opponent at the net.
Again under severe strain on her own serve as the set threatened to get away from her, Rybakina dug deep to hold for 3-2.
In the first set, though, she failed to generate a single break point on the sun-baked Centre Court, and an error-filled service game handed the set to Jabeur.
As Jabeur celebrated with a fist pump, Rybakina returned to her chair and reflected on her team’s 17 costly unforced errors.
At the start of the second set, though, Rybakina broke Jabeur and went on to secure a 2-0 advantage.
Now that Rybakina had found her groove, Jabeur had to fight hard to maintain contact.
The six-foot-one-inch (1.84-meter) Kazakh, who is 23 years old, fought off three break points before breaking again to grab a 4-1 lead after Jabeur’s forehand went long.
As Jabeur reflected on four wasted break-point opportunities in the set, Rybakina leveled the match with an ace.
The 17th seed was the first to break in the deciding set, immediately increasing the pressure on Jabeur.
As her irritation grew, the Tunisian lost three break points in the sixth game, which proved to be her final opportunity.
Rybakina displayed some jitters while serving for the set, but she won with her first championship point after Jabeur’s backhand went long.
In 2018, Rybakina, who was competing in her first Grand Slam final, changed her nationality to Kazakhstan.
As a result of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes are barred from this year’s Wimbledon.
Prior to this year’s Wimbledon, Rybakina has never advanced past the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament.
Jabeur congratulated the winner, stating, “Hopefully, it will be my next time.”
“I appreciate my team’s support and confidence,” she remarked. “I adore this competition. Unfortunately, in tennis, there can be only one winner.”