Rybakina wins historic Wimbledon title with win over Jabeur

The No.17 seed Elena Rybakina became the first player representing Kazakhstan to win a Grand Slam singles championship with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over No.3 Ons Jabeur.

After sealing his first championship point with a service winner, Rybakina celebrated the hour-and-48-minute win with barely a fist pump.

In the first Wimbledon title match between the Open Era first-time Grand Slam finalists, 23-year-old Rybakina also became the youngest woman to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish since 21-year-old Petra Kvitova. in 2011. She is now the fourth-youngest active major champion on the Hologic WTA Tour, older than Iga Swiatek, Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu.

Elena Rybakina’s journey to Wimbledon Title
R1: [LL] Coco Vandeweghe 7-6(2), 7-5
R2: Bianca Andreescu 6-4, 7-6(5)
Q3: Zheng Qinwen 7-6(4), 7-5
R4: Petra Martic 7-5, 6-3
QF: Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
FS: [16] Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3
F: [3] Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2

Wimbledon is Rybakina’s third career title and first since Hobart 2020. Between the two, she had lost four consecutive finals, as well as last year’s bronze medal playoff at the Tokyo Olympics.

Wibledon reaction:

Rybakina beat two previous Slam winners along the way, Andreescu in the second round and Simona Halep in the semis. His win over Jabeur was his first win against a Top 10 player since beating Garbiñe Muguruza in the Tokyo Olympics quarter-final.

Rybakina’s previous best Grand Slam performance was at Roland Garros 2021, where she beat Serena Williams to reach the quarter-finals before losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Wimbledon this year was only the second time she has played the Championships main draw. In her debut last year, Rybakina made the fourth round before falling to Aryna Sabalenka.

Jabeur is also leaving Wimbledon after making history. She has spent much of her career as a pioneer for her country and region and is the first Tunisian and Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final.

Match management: Top-ranked Jabeur was quick to come out on top in the game. In the first set, her drop shot and passing were both on song, and she used her variety to constantly put Rybakina in awkward positions.

Rybakina committed 17 unforced errors in the opener, with a host of them conceding serve to fall behind 2-1. Meanwhile, a handsome display by Jabeur offered little opportunity to turn the tables. The world No. 2 dropped just four points on serve in total in the opener. And although Rybakina seemed to have settled down halfway through, she went down with another cheap error streak to lose the final eight points.

Rybakina’s return in the second set was due to both improving his attacking game and delivering one of the best defenses of his career. She increased her first-serve percentage from 58% to 63%, but her movement was a crucial part of that stretch.

Throughout the second set, Rybakina repeatedly chased down Jabeur’s drop shots – then provided the touch needed to hit the finely angled winners. After breaking Jabeur in the first game of the set, Rybakina avoided a change of momentum by surviving three break-back points to hold 3-1.

Now it was Jabeur’s turn to fall, letting off eager errors only to find himself behind a double break. Rybakina leveled the match with the minimum of fuss, slamming four unreturned serves to close the set.

As the tension mounted on center court, Rybakina maintained her level at the start of the third set. She broke immediately, once again edging out Jabeur in a point that is mostly Tunisian territory. Jabeur drove Rybakina into the forecourt with a nifty short kick, but it was Rybakina who still managed to put away the volley.

As in the second set, Rybakina faced the biggest challenge for her lead halfway through the decider. Jabeur moved to triple break point after a bunt that grazed the net and a perfect lob – but Rybakina’s serve was up to the task to push them back, and she held 4-2 with a confident volley.

After passing that test, Rybakina took the win, breaking Jabeur again for 5-2 and then serving the match on his first chance. She finished the day with four aces, bringing her tournament total to 53 and 29 winners at 33 unforced errors.

Rybakina on overcoming nerves: “I was super nervous. Yesterday I had a good practice. But in the evening I already started to feel too nervous. In the morning too. But I was just trying to tell myself that it was a game and I had experience already I mean for me the worst part is if you are in place you lose the match Unfortunately I had a lot of matches like this so can maybe that helped me a little.

“I was trying to convince myself that it could happen again, and I hope it’s not the last time I’m in the final. Not the first, not the last. I’ve already done a great job with my crew.
With those kinds of words, I was trying to calm myself down.

“So, she played well. I needed time to adjust to her game. But then after thinking that I’m going to fight until the end no matter what. I just tried to focus on every point because it was very difficult. It was super hot. I think because I was nervous physically, I thought I couldn’t anymore. But in the end, I was just running towards all these drop shots .

“I think it was really the first time I ran so much on all those tricky Ons shots.”

Rybakina on her calm reactions to the win: “I’m still very calm. I don’t know what should happen. When I was giving a speech at the end, I thought, ‘I’m going to cry now’, but somehow I hold it. Maybe later when I’m going to be alone in the room, I’m going to cry all the time, I don’t know.

“Maybe because I believe I can do it deep down inside. But at the same time, it’s too many emotions. I was just trying to stay calm. Maybe one day you’ll see a huge reaction from me, but unfortunately not today.”

Rybakina on what she proved: “Maybe I proved that it’s not always necessary to have a great team from a young age, because I didn’t until I was 17, 18. So I think that’s the most important thing, that everybody, no matter what their financial situation, no matter who they are, they can play and get a lot of great results.

“And to myself that I can actually win a Grand Slam. Believe in me more, and maybe I can win more Grand Slams. Who knows? But for sure that’s the goal, and that’s what I’m going to work for.”

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