Sunday, February 5, 2023

Elena Rybakina Defeats Ons Jabeur To Win Wimbledon

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An emotional Elena Rybakina created history by becoming the first ever Kazakhstani Grand Slam champion after she overcame Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon women’s final.

The 17th see handled the occasion with a maturity belying her relative inexperience, especially given the way she battled back from a set down, recording a 3-6 6-2 6-2 victory.

Big-serving Rybakina struggled to muster a response during the early stages with her primary weapon virtually nullified by Jabeur, who broke in just the third game of the contest.

The 27-year-old consolidated that advantage in the following game with a rasping backhand pass, but it was her employment of a backhand slice that continually asked questions that Rybakina struggled to answer.

The Russian-born star looked nervous from the off and it was little surprise when Jabeur broke again as Rybakina served unsuccessfully to stay in the opening set.

Rybakina needed a response and she duly found one from nowhere, breaking at the start of the second set and maintaining that momentum, holding serve despite relentless pressure from Jabeur.

The 23-year-old crucially held serve in the fourth game of the set which lasted nearly 10 minutes and saw Jabeur squander several break point opportunities.

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Rybakina capitalised on her opponent’s loss of composure to break again and soon squared the match at one set apiece.

Jabeur, who was bidding to become the first African-born Grand Slam champion, was broken at the start of the decisive third set and struggled to contain her emotions, screaming in frustration as she wasted an opportunity to create a break point opportunity soon afterwards.

Rybakina’s serve was now in full working order and propelling her towards the title, but Jabeur was proving a stubborn opponent who refused to go down without a fight.

The pugnacious Jabeur had Rybakina at 0-40 in the sixth game of the set, but her opponent reeled off five successive points and appeared to break the resolve of the Tunisian, who also burned her final challenge.

Rybakina forced a double break immediately and then closed out the match impressively to seal an unlikely but thoroughly deserved win.

Photo Credit: Getty

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