Rybakina beat Zhaber to win Wimbledon



Russian-born Elena Rybakina bounced back from her loss to Ons Jabert to win the Wimbledon title on Saturday, depriving the Tunisian world No. 2 of a chance to make African tennis history.

Gills broke out of the blocks, but the 17th regrouped and lost four more games after the first set en route to a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win.

Russian and Belarusian players banned Wimbledon This year after the invasion of Ukraine, but the Moscow-born Rybakina was able to play as she defected to Kazakhstan in 2018.

The 23-year-old, who has never advanced beyond a Grand Slam quarter-final before, said she was “very nervous” before and during the match on the sun-drenched center court.

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“I didn’t expect to be in the second week of the Grand Slam at Wimbledon,” she said. “Being a winner is amazing. I don’t have words to say how happy I am.”

Jabeur, 27, started the match in style, using drop shots and passing shots to great effect as Rybakina’s power play failed.

The Tunisian broke down in the third game of the match when the Kazakhstani went long with a left hand.

Unforced errors

Rybakina pinned twice more despite pressure from Zhaber, but then served with a lot of errors to give her opponent a set.

As the Tunisian celebrated with fist-flapping, Rybakina returned to her seat, contemplating the costly 17 unforced errors.

But the momentum changed immediately at the start of the second set when Rybakina beat Zhaber before holding on to a 2-0 lead.

Now she’s found her rhythm, and Jabeur had to struggle to stay connected as the Kazakh constantly chased down dropshots and found the touch she needed to hit winners from precise angles.

Rybakina, who is six feet (1.84 meters) tall, then saved three break points before breaking again to take a 4-1 lead when Zhaber went ahead with a right hand.

She equalized with an ace as Jabeur brooded over four missed break points in the set.

“Stole my title!”

The 23rd-place Kazakh struck first in the decider, breaking immediately to put more pressure on Zhaber, who failed to regain her edge early in the match.

Tunisia conceded three break points in Game 6 as their frustration mounted and this proved to be their last chance.

Rybakina showed some nervousness when serving for the match, but won her first championship point when Jabeur went long with a backhand.

She finished the day with four aces, bringing her total at Wimbledon this year to the top 53 in the tournament and 29 winners with 33 unforced errors.

At the post-match press conference, Rybakina was asked if the Russian government would be tempted to politicize her triumph.

“I have been playing for Kazakhstan for a very, very long time,” she said. “I represent them in the biggest tournaments, the Olympics, which was a dream.

“I don’t know what will happen. I mean, it’s always some kind of news, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

However, the main Russian tennis player Shamil Tarpishchev called Rybakina’s victory a triumph for Russia, calling the tennis player “our product”.

“It’s very cool! Well done Rybakin! We win the Wimbledon tournament,” Tarpishchev was quoted by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

Jaber, the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final, was trying to become the first African woman to win a major tournament.

The player, whom Tunisians call the “Minister of Happiness,” said she gave it her all while performing at the All England Club.

“Of course I will leave happy, with a smile, always a big smile,” she said. “Tennis is just a sport for me. The most important thing is that I feel good.”

On Sunday, Novak Djokovic is in contention for a seventh Wimbledon men’s title, taking on the unpredictable Nick Kyrgios of Australia in the final.

The victory would put him on par with Pete Sampras and just one short of Roger Federer’s eight-time men’s record.

In Saturday’s men’s doubles final, 14th-place Australian pairing Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell beat defending Croatian champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavić 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (3/7), 4 -6. , 6-4, 7-6 (10/2).

Ebden and Purcell had amassed a total of eight match points in the previous rounds to reach the final.

Meanwhile, Pavić played despite breaking his right wrist in the semi-finals.