Markéta Vondroušová outlasts Ons Jabeur to make Wimbledon history

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Vondrousova was competing in her first Grand Slam final.

Marketa Vondrousova She beat the odds throughout the past two weeks at Wimbledon, and the Czech did it again in the women’s final on Saturday, defeating favorite Anas Jabeur to become the first unseeded woman in the Open Era to win the famous tournament.

The world No. 42, who was playing in her second Grand Slam final, beat the No. 6 seed 6-4, 6-4 on center court to make history, falling to the turf as the enormity of her achievement struck her.

Not since Serena Williams in 2018, when the American was ranked 181st in the world, has a player ranked so low in the world reached the Wimbledon final. The last unranked woman to do so was Billie Jean King in 1963.

Last year, Vondrousova was in London as a tourist, still recovering from surgery on her left wrist. And at the start of Wimbledon, seven months after her recent injury return, no one expected her to participate in the championship match, not even the player herself whose husband stayed in the Czech Republic until the final match to take care of their team. Cat, Frankie.

But Jabeur became the fifth seeded player to fall to the 24-year-old in this tournament as her unpredictability proved difficult to overwhelm her opponents, with the Tunisian particularly struggling despite having several opportunities to dominate the match.

“Tennis is crazy,” Vondrousova, the junior seed and runner-up at the 2019 French Open, said in her on-court interview. “Yeah, I really don’t know what’s going on right now, it feels great.”

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Jaber was crying after the defeat.

History would have been made no matter which finalist lifted the Venus Rosewater plate, but the enormity of the occasion weighed heaviest on Jabeur, who has now lost her second consecutive Wimbledon final with this, she said after the defeat, being the most painful of her career. . This was also her third loss in a Grand Final.

But that is what pressure does to a player, especially a player who holds hopes not just nation-wide but continent-wide while also trying to come to terms with their own expectations, dreams, and past failures. Jaber once again came close to becoming the first Arab and African woman to win a major tournament, but her 31 unforced errors proved and the wait continues. Her win by just 4 out of 10 points has likely weighed heavily on her mind for some time.

“I will not give up, I will come back stronger,” she told Center Court while also wiping away tears.

Unpredictable and fearless

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Vondrousova did not compete at Wimbledon last year as she was recovering from a wrist injury.

Jabeur had plenty of chances in the first set in particular, but had only two of his seven break points and made 17 unforced errors. She would regret the stats when Vondroušová took over.

The finalists traded breaks in games two and three of the match, tied at 2-2 after a series of absorbing and entertaining base battles. More breaks followed – four in their first seven games – as nerves crept into their play, adding to the tension.

Vondroušová, an unpredictable left-handed underdog who subtly changed tactics. She kept changing pace and spinning the ball and eventually took the first set, securing the deciding break in the ninth game to finish out the set.

The 28-year-old Jabeur was left shaking her head when she crashed in the opener of the second set, as her opponent rallied six games in a row to put herself in the lead.

The shift in momentum was surprising, but Vondroušová has worried opponents these past two weeks. When it is impossible to anticipate the next shot, seeds of doubt begin to play in the mind.

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But things can change quickly in tennis and when Jabeur looked like he was hanging off a cliff, from 40-0 down on Vondrousova’s serve, she came back to level the match. Hope was restored, and the nation breathed a little easier. But only for a short time.

Jabeur was still unable to land the killing blow on a player who refused to surrender and, crucially, promptly returned to continue the unpredictable nature of the match.

The crowd was chatting with Jabeur, the woman who said it was her dream to win the All England Club, but their vociferous support wasn’t enough and at 4-4 Vondrousova broke again and served for the match, a backhand securing a famous win.

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