England's Wimbledon: On Saturday, Marketa Vondrousova defeated 2022 runner-up Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-4 to win Wimbledon as the lowest-ranked and first unseeded woman.
Czech Republic native and 42nd-ranked left-hander Vondrousova is 24 years old. The last unseeded woman to even make it to the All England Club final was 1963 runner-up Billie Jean King, who was seated in the front row of the Royal Box on Saturday with Kate, Princess of Wales. She was the first such woman to even make it there.
The retractable roof above the main stadium was closed, protecting everyone from the breeze outside, which may have helped Vondrousova's fluid left-handed strokes frequently hit their target. Her photos didn't convey the same level of intensity that Jabeur's did.
In both sets, Vondrousova was behind but won the final four games of the first and the final three games of the second.
Her first Grand Slam victory is this one. She was a teenager when she lost in the 2019 French Open final.
Jabeur's record in big finals fell to 0-3 now. The 28-year-old Tunisian is the only Arab and the only woman from North Africa to advance that far in singles at a Grand Slam competition.
But at the All England Club and the U.S. Open, she suffered defeats to Elena Rybakina and No. 1 Iga Swiatek, respectively.
Two weeks ago, Vondrousova's ascent to the trophy was difficult to imagine.
Prior to going 7-0 this past week, she had a 1-4 record at Wimbledon, reaching the second round just once on the grass courts. When Wimbledon came around last year, Vondrousova was unable to play; instead, she came to support a friend while sporting a cast on her surgically repaired left wrist.
Because of that injury, Vondrousova missed all of April through October of 2022 and completed the year in 99th place.
After 23 minutes, there were early service breaks exchanged, and the score was 2-all. After 34 minutes, the score was 4-all as they exchanged breaks once more, each one at love.
But Jabeur kept making errors—she would end up with 27—and Vondrousova pulled ahead by winning 16 of the match's final 18 points in the first set.
Jabeur went to the locker room during the interval between sets. She promptly made another mistake when she came back out, drawing loud cheers from the audience in support. Vondrousova received a break point after yet another error, which Jabeur furthered by firing another shot into the goal.
Jabeur then started to do a turn around at that point.
She won three straight games to extend her lead to 3-1, possibly emulating the comebacks she pulled off when she dropped the first set before defeating Rybakina, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, and 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu.
The level of support the fans was giving the well-liked Jabeur, known as the Minister of Happiness for her demeanour on and off the court, increased along with her level of play.
After overcoming that setback and having her husband watch for the first time throughout the competition, Vondrousova pushed through to the finish.
She fell to the grass in the happiest state she'd ever experienced on the court when she won the match with a jumping volley.
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