Thursday, July 18, 2024

Wimbledon: Jabeur beats Sabalenka to set up final against Vondrousova

No.6 seed Ons Jabeur rallied for a 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 win over No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka on Centre Court to book a place in her third career Grand Slam final and second straight at the Wimbledon, here on Thursday.

Jabeur is the first woman to reach back-to-back finals at Wimbledon since Serena Williams in 2018-19. Williams lost both of those matches, and Jabeur will seek to avoid that fate when she faces Czech left-hander Marketa Vondrousova in Saturday’s final — the first unseeded Wimbledon women’s finalist in the Open Era.

For the second straight match at Wimbledon — she also rallied from a set down in a rematch of the 2022 final to beat Elena Rybakina in the quarters — Jabeur came from behind for a three-set victory, and with wins over Rybakina, Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova this fortnight, Jabeur is the first woman to defeat three Top 10 players at Wimbledon since Williams in 2012.

On the other hand, Vondrousova made a triumphant trip into her second career Grand Slam final with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Elina Svitolina in the Wimbledon semifinals.

In the all-unseeded affair, Czech lefty Vondrousova took 1 hour and 15 minutes to defeat Ukraine’s Svitolina, who was playing only her second Grand Slam event since her return from maternity leave in April.

The 24-year old Vondrousova had to fend off a second-set comeback by Svitolina to prevail and level their head-to-head at three wins apiece. Svitolina rebounded from 4-0 to 4-3 before Vondrousova regrouped to take the final two games of the match.

Both finalists — Vondrousova and Jabeur — are tied 3-3 in their overall head-to-head, but Vondrousova has beaten Jabeur in both of their meetings this year, at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

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