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Elena Rybakina Defeats Ons Jabeur to Win 2022 Wimbledon Women's Final

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 9, 2022

Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina celebrates a point against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in the final of the women's singles on day thirteen of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Saturday, July 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Elena Rybakina captured her first Grand Slam title with a three-set victory over Ons Jabeur in the 2022 Wimbledon women's final Saturday at the All England Club in London.

Jabeur won the first set in the battle of first-time major finalists, but Rybakina used her superior power to complete the comeback on the strength of 22 winners over the final two sets. Her third-seeded counterpart finished with 17 winners in the whole match.

The 23-year-old Kazakh entered the tournament as the No. 17 seed and had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals in 11 prior Grand Slam appearances.

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

Elena Rybakina rises to the occasion โœจ<br><br>In its centenary year, Centre Court crowns a new Ladiesโ€™ Singles champion<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CentreCourt100?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CentreCourt100</a> <a href="https://t.co/Wabfr0GTdS">pic.twitter.com/Wabfr0GTdS</a>

Rybakina benefited from a favorable draw during the first week of the season's third major. The two highest-seeded players in her bracket, No. 8 Jessica Pegula and No. 9 Garbine Muguruza, were upset in the early rounds.

The way Rybakina finished the tournament, though, with a semifinal destruction of two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep and a dominant performance over the last two sets against Jabeur, showed her ascension to Wimbledon champion was no fluke.

Aside from her 29-17 advantage in winners, Rybakina excelled on break points Saturday. She converted four of her six opportunities, while Jabeur went 2-for-11.

Rybakina, who had won only two WTA Tour titles, also showed nerves of steel as she staved off three break points while serving at 3-2 in the final set. She won the match's final three games to close out the win.

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

"I've never felt something like this"<br><br>Believe it, Elena - you're a Wimbledon champion ๐Ÿ†<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CentreCourt100?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CentreCourt100</a> <a href="https://t.co/2p4wPqwxLr">pic.twitter.com/2p4wPqwxLr</a>

Jabeur, 27, didn't play poorly in the final, and her restrained style worked to perfection initially, as she kept a lot of balls in play that led to 17 unforced errors by Rybakina in the opening set.

She just couldn't find a consistent answer defensively once Rybakina got in a groove with her serve and forehand, and the match slipped away.

It was still a memorable run for Jabeur, who became the first Arab and African woman to reach the final of a Grand Slam tournament.

Wimbledon @Wimbledon

โ€œIโ€™m trying to inspire the next generations. I hope they are listeningโ€<a href="https://twitter.com/Ons_Jabeur?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ons_Jabeur</a>, keep blazing the trail ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ณ<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CentreCourt100?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CentreCourt100</a> <a href="https://t.co/t4214lhOFu">pic.twitter.com/t4214lhOFu</a>

Looking ahead, the WTA Tour will complete July with clay-court tournaments in Europe before the U.S. Open Series starts in early August ahead of the year's final major. The U.S. Open begins Aug. 29.

Rybakina should have a terrific chance to make another deep run in New York.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon wraps up Sunday with the men's championship. Novak Djokovic will seek his seventh Wimbledon title and 21st major title when he takes on Nick Kyrgios, who will make his Grand Slam final debut.