Elena Rybakina had to come from a set behind, but she’s now the Wimbledon women’s singles champion after defeating Ons Jabeur 3-6 6-2 6-2. And in doing so, Rybakina also becomes the first player from Kazakhstan to win a Grand Slam and the youngest title winner since 2011.
It was a shaky start from Rybakina, but once she steadied herself and got to grips with the occasion, she was able to move quickly into forcing third seed Jabeur into errors. After losing the first set, she dominated from there on in and really put Jabeur on the backfoot.
And, even though there were times when Jabeur managed to show her quality, Rybakina never let her set into any sort of rhythm, which saw pressure build and errors creep into shots. So it was no surprise that when the first match point was there for the taking, Rybakina duly obliged.
Jabeur was aiming to create history herself on Centre Court by becoming the first Arab player to land a Grand Slam title, but it wasn’t to be. However, it was the Tunisian’s best performance in a Grand Slam after going as far as the third round at the Australian Open in 2020.
Rybakina, who was born in Moscow but switched allegiances several years ago to Kazakhstan, has seen steady progress throughout her career. In 2021 she made the quarter-finals at the French Open, and now she’s gone one better at Wimbledon.
What you can be certain of is that there is still a lot more to come from both women, especially twenty-three-year-old Rybakina, who showed her class by being victorious at Wimbledon. Her large 6’0 frame is a massive advantage, and her power, which she ramped up several times in the final, is a weapon in her arsenal that will cause some of the best problems.
For twenty-seven-year-old Jabeur, she still has plenty of achievements to aim for because she is very much a late bloomer in the female game. However, after finding her feet in the sport, she has gone from strength to strength, winning WTA-ranking tournaments.
And at the same time, she has become known as the ‘Minister of Happiness’ in Tunisia and is popular elsewhere throughout the Arab world. If she had been victorious on centre court, it would have been a double celebration with many Muslims around the world celebrating Eid.
The next Grand Slam on the calendar is, of course, the US Open, which begins in August. Both women will be looking to carry on the great form they showed at Wimbledon into the final Grand Slam of the season.
The challenge for Rybakina is to follow up one Grand Slam victory with another. And while it may be a tough ask, she certainly has the quality to make it happen. But, there will be plenty of top female tennis stars standing in her way once again.