Ons Jabeur Reaches Maiden Wimbledon Final With Historic Win - UBITENNIS
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Ons Jabeur Reaches Maiden Wimbledon Final With Historic Win

The world No.2 has set a new milestone as a result of her roller-coaster semi-final win at The All England Club on Thursday.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Ons Jabeur has become the first African woman in the Open Era to reach the final of a major event after knocking out unseeded German Tatjana Maria at Wimbledon. 

The second seed overcame a mid-match blip as she battled to a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, victory at The All England Club in what is a milestone achievement for her continent. Jabeur has now won 11 matches in a row on the grass and is the first woman to reach double digits since Maria Sharapova (2004-2005). According to the WTA, she is the 11th player to reach their first Wimbledon final after turning 27.

“I really don’t know what to say, it’s a dream coming true following years and years of work and sacrifice,” said Jabeur.
“I’m really happy that it’s paying off and I will continue for one more match.”

In what was the first Tour meeting between the two since 2018, Jabeur started to apply the pressure from the onset. Forcing Maria to battle her way through a tense eight-minute opening service game. It wasn’t long before the Tunisian secured his first breakthrough which occurred in the third game. A slice shot from Maria on break point crashed into the net to hand Jabeur her first break. Prompting her to clench her fist in delight. She then worked her way to a double break with the help of more errors from her rival before closing the set out with a love service game. 

Maria did manage to hit back in the second frame during what has been a remarkable tournament for her. The 34-year-old had never gone beyond the third round of major until this event and is the first mother-of-two to reach the last four since Margaret court did so back in 1975. She worked her way to a 4-1 lead after back-to-back Jabeur errors gifted her a break.  The unexpected momentum change continued with the world No.103 going on to level the match. Doing so with the help of a failed drop shot from Jabeur on set point. 

Despite her blip, the second seed came out fighting in the decider. Hitting a blistering forehand passing shot she clinched the vital break to restore her stronghold in the match. From then onwards she cruised to victory with relative ease. Until Jabeur’s triumph an African woman had never reached a Grand Slam final since since 1959 which was almost a decade before the Open Era began. 

“I’m a proud Tunisian woman standing here today and everybody at home is probably going crazy right now,” she said. “I just try to inspire as much as I can. I want to see more Arab and African players on the tour. I just love the game and I want to share this experience with them.”

In the immediate aftermath of her victory, Jabeur had a heartwarming conversation with Maria at the net.  The two are friends on the Tour and know each other well.

“I think it was more difficult running after her balls (then playing her). She killed me. She will have to do a BBQ for me now to make up for all the running she has made me do on the court,” Jabeur jokes.
“I definitely wanted to share this moment with her at the end because she is such an inspiration for many players, including me. Coming back after having two babies..I still can’t believe how she did it.”

I hope she continues this way. I love seeing tatjana on the court.”

Wimbledon is the fifth tournament where she has reached the final this year and her second on the grass.  

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World No.634 Laura Samson Reaches First WTA Quarter-Final At 16

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Laura Samon - image via itftennis.com/ photo credi: Manuel Queimadelos

Laura Samson has become the first player born in 2008 to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA event after producing a surprise win on Tuesday. 

The 16-year-old wildcard stunned second seed Katerina Siniakova 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round at the Prague Open. Her triumph occurred a day after she dropped just two games against Tara Wurth in her opening match. This week is Samson’s Tour debut after playing 10 events on the lower-level ITF circuit. 

“I’m extremely surprised,” she said during her on-court interview after beating Siniakova. “I didn’t go into it as favorite. I’m so proud of myself and I hope I will continue to play like this. As I was going into the second set I thought, ‘I have nothing to lose, I didn’t play good in the first set.’ I’m not really sure when [I thought I could win], I just believed myself in the third set.” 

Samson is the latest Czech player to break through following a sucessful junior career. Last year she won the Wimbledon girls’ doubles title and was runner-up in the French Open singles tournament in June. She is currently No.3 in the ITF junior rankings but has been ranked as high as No.1. 

Earlier this year, Samson decided to change her name on the Tour by dropping the last three letters (ova). The reason why she did so was to avoid getting confused with another player. 

“I first noticed it last year, there was a problem that I was getting strings (the) of Lyudmila Samsonova,” she told tenisovysvet.cz.

“I also talked about it with her and, for example, according to the schedule, she also sometimes thought she was playing, but it was me,” 

“I would have liked the ending -ová, but unfortunately it turned out like this.”

The teenager will next take on world No.248 Oksana Selekhmeteva with the winner of that match progressing to their first WTA semi-final.  21-year-old Selekhmeteva is a former top 10 junior player who came through two rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw. She is a two-time junior Grand Slam champion in doubles. 

There are five seeds remaining in the tournament, including top seed Linda Nosková who will play Germany’s Ella Seidel in her next match. 

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Alex De Minaur Overcomes Injury To Fulfil Olympic Dream

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ASlex de Minaur - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Alex de Minaur says it is a ‘dream come true’ for him to represent Australia in the Olympic Games after missing the event three years ago.

The world No.6 had been in a race against time to be fit for the Olympic tennis event after suffering an agonising injury setback at Wimbledon earlier this month. At the All England Club de Minaur reached the quarter-final stage for the first time and was set to take on Novak Djokovic. However, he was forced to withdraw from the match after tearing the fibre cartilage in his hip region after suffering a ‘freak’ injury. At the time of the announcement, it was estimated that he would be sidelined from the Tour for three to six weeks. 

However, the 25-year-old appears to have recovered fairly quickly in time for Paris with the tennis tournament starting on Saturday. It will be de Minaur’s debut in the Olympics after he was forced to pull out of the Tokyo Games due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

“To finally be able to represent Australia in the Olympics is a dream come true,” he wrote on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

“I’m very passionate when I play for my country and wear the green and gold, so this is another one of those moments. 

“I’m extremely excited to lace up for Paris 2024.”

De Minaur is bidding to become the first male player from his country to win an Olympic medal in the singles event. He has already won two ATP titles this year in Alcapulco and s-Hertogenbosch. Since the start of January, he has won five out of 11 meetings against top 10 players. 

“It’s really great news – we’re actually expecting Alex to arrive in the village ahead of the official draw (on Thursday) and we know he’s been working with his rehab team quite extensively since the conclusion of Wimbledon,” Australian chef de mission Anna Meares told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“He’s hungry to be here, he wants to be a part of this team and we will offer as much support as we can in that process.

“He’s coming – we will wait to see that process. He still has time … injury can be a really stressful thing for an athlete and the more you rush it, the more problems you can potentially cause.

“We’re leaving it in the hands of Alex and his rehabilitation team … it will be a decision purely by them.” 

De Minaur is one of five Australian men playing in the Paris Olympics. The others are Alexei Popyrin, Matthew Ebden, John Peers and Rinky Hijikata. 

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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