Ons Jabeur staged a comeback from a set and 4-2 deficit to beat Aryna Sabalenka 5-7(5) 6-4 6-3 and advance to the final of Wimbledon for the second consecutive year. The Tunisian’s semifinal victory means that Sabalenka has for the second consecutive Grand Slam failed to overtake Iga Swiatek at the top of the WTA rankings.
The gruelling 58-minute first set went with serve, as Jabeur couldn’t convert her three break points and Sabalenka one. Even though at times it was Jabeur who played much better, the sixth seed failed to capitalize on her opportunities and her second-seeded opponent edged the set in a tiebreak. The world No.2 Sabalenka converted her second set point when Jabeur responded to her strong serve with a forehand error.
With Sabalenka taking a break lead in the second set, it appeared that Jabeur was destined for disappointment. Even in the post-match interview she admitted that she accepted defeat at one point and saw herself going home. However, the Tunisian found inner strength and started displaying a determined look in her eyes. She impressively won four straight games from 4-2 down, effectively pushing the match into a decisive third set. Jabeur’s tenacity breathed new life into the contest, setting the stage for an exciting conclusion.
From 2-2 in the decider, Jabeur started dominating the contest. With Jabeur leading 5-2, Sabalenka saved the first match point with her ninth ace and the second one with another good serve. However, the reigning Australian Open champion couldn’t survive her opponent’s service game, as Jabeur served an ace to convert her fifth match point.
Had Sabalenka won this semifinal, she would have overtaken Swiatek as the No.1 WTA player. Swiatek has held the top ranking since April 4, 2022, and will be spending her 68th week at No.1 after Wimbledon.
Jabeur’s opponent in the Wimbledon final will be Marketa Vondrousova, who defeated Elina Svitolina in the first semifinal on Centre Court this Thursday.