In a match between first-time Grand Slam finalists, seed No.17 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan recovered from a set down to beat third seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 3-6 6-2 6-2 and become an unexpected champion at this year’s Wimbledon.
Assisted by Rybakina’s unforced errors, Jabeur eased through the first set of the championship match. The Tunisian consolidated her first break with a love hold for a 3-1 lead and finished the set by winning two consecutive games in which she didn’t lose a single point.
The world No.23 Rybakina broke Jabeur’s serve in the opening game of the second set. After surviving three break points and five deuces to hold for a 3-1 lead, Rybakina cruised through the remainder of the set, sealing it with an ace.
We’re going three! Jabeur is the WTA’s 2022 leader in three-set match wins, but…
Once again Rybakina opened a set with a break. Trailing 3-2, Jabeur had three consecutive break points to level, but Rybakina saved them all and kept the advantage. At that moment, it was clear Jabeur lost her final chance to fight back. Not long afterwards, Rybakina made history by becoming the first major champion representing Kazakhstan.
As the WTA punished Wimbledon for not allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete, players will not receive any ranking points for their participation, so even though she’s a champion, Rybakina will not see any benefits in terms of ranking. However, she will earn prize money.
The 23-year-old Rybakina, who was born and raised in Moscow and still officially resides in the Russian capital, was lucky to have switched her citizenship to Kazakhstan four years ago. Her decision at the time was purely practical, as Kazakhstan offered her a lot of support and good training conditions, but this time it turned out to be a crucial for her eligibility to play Wimbledon 2022 and get a chance to win her maiden Grand Slam title.
Making her second main-draw appearance at Wimbledon, Rybakina ousted two Grand Slam champions this fortnight: Bianca Andreescu in the second round and Simona Halep in the semifinals. Her other victims besides Ons Jabeur were Coco Vandeweghe, Zheng Qinwen, Petra Martic and Ajla Tomljanovic.