Photo: Martin Sidorjak
On Saturday, Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan captured the prestigious Wimbledon crown after defeating Ons Jabeur in a three-set victory 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
At the All England Club, Jabeur took the first set in a battle between the first-time major finalists, however, Rybakina used her superior power to complete the comeback, making her the first tennis player from Kazakhstan to win the esteemed title.
The No. 23-ranked Kazakh did not have the best start on grass this season. Heading into the Championships, she had an overall record of 1-2 on the surface, winning her only match at the Libéma Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. Nonetheless, she managed to regain her rhythm in London, defeating the likes of 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, rising-star Qinwen Zheng, and in-form Petra Martic in the early rounds of the event. After surviving her three-set, quarter-final battle against Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic, Rybakina soared past former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep in the semi-finals to book her spot in the championship match against Jabeur.
In the finals, Rybakina struggled to find consistency right out the gate, allowing Jabeur to dominate in the service department in the opening set. The Tunisian won 80 per cent of service points, while Rybakina won just over 50 per cent of hers. In the second set, the world No. 23 started to elevate her game, especially on her serve (something she heavily relies on as a powerful 6-foot player). Rybakina managed to force a third set and, with all the momentum on her side, broke Jabeur twice in the decider en route to clinching the women’s singles title.
After the on-court celebrations came to an end, Rybakina spoke to the media about her remarkable fortnight in London and was quite honest in her answers.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to be in the second week of a Grand Slam at Wimbledon,” the 2022 Wimbledon champion said. “And then to be the winner, it’s just amazing.”
With this win in London under her belt, the 23-year-old will look to take a small break from tennis before taking on the hard-court season in both the singles and doubles format.