Czech Marketa Vondrousova has emerged victorious over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-4 to become the first unseeded player in the professional era to win the Wimbledon women’s singles title.
The 24-year-old left-hander, who a year ago needed wrist surgery, proved too steady in Saturday’s final for the error-strewn Jabeur who ended up as runner-up for the second successive year.
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As the first unseeded woman in the Wimbledon final in 60 years, Vondrousova was a heavy underdog against sixth-ranked Jabeur.
Jabeur was bidding to become the first Arab player to win a Grand Slam title and the first African woman to lift one of the four major trophies. But she was well below her best.
“It’s going to be a tough day, but I am not going to give up,” she said while wiping away her tears.
“It’s the most painful loss of my career, but we’re going to make it one day, I promise you I’m not going to give up.”
Under a closed roof due to rain, Jabeur drew first blood with a break in the second game when Vondrousova netted a nervous backhand.
But she immediately surrendered the initiative as Vondrousova broke back in the next game.
Jabeur’s anxiety was clear as her unforced error total reached double figures in another wild game that gave Vondrousova a 5-4 advantage that she gratefully seized to serve out the set.
Vondrousova made it five games in a row when Jabeur’s weak forehand gifted her a break in the opening game of the second set.
Breaking twice in three games, Jabeur moved 3-1 up, only to falter again as the ninth break of the match allowed Vondrousova back into the set.
It was an opportunity the Czech was not going to spurn as Jabeur’s unforced errors reached 31 by the final game.
In contrast to Jabeur’s meltdown, Vondrousova remained ice-cool and sealed her unexpected triumph with a perfect volley before falling to the turf in delight.
Vondrousova joins Martina Navratilova, Jana Novotna and Petra Kvitova as the only Czech-born women to win a Wimbledon title.
She is just the ninth unseeded champion at a grand slam tournament.