Underdog Elena Rybakina Stuns Frustrated Jabeur to Win Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Underdog Elena Rybakina Stuns Frustrated Jabeur to Win Wimbledon

In her first Grand Slam final, the Kazakh battled back from a set down to end the title dreams of the world No.2.

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image - twitter.com/wimbledon

Elena Rybakina has become the youngest women’s Wimbledon champion since 2011 after defeating a highly animated Ons Jabeur on Saturday afternoon.

The world No.23 prevailed 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, to become the first Kazakh player in history to win a Grand Slam title at 23. It is the first time in her career she has beaten a player currently ranked in the world’s top two and it is only the second time that she has beaten a top 10 player on the grass. She is also the fourth lowest-ranked player to ever play in the final at SW19 after the Williams sisters and Sabine Lisicki since the ranking system was introduced in 1975.

“I’m speechless. I was super nervous before the match and during the match. To be honest, I am glad it finished because I had never felt anything like that,” said the new champion.
“I want to congratulate Ons. Everything you have achieved is amazing and it is not only an inspiration for the young juniors but everybody. You have an amazing game and we don’t have somebody like this on the Tour. It’s a joy to play against you.”

In what was a roller-coaster encounter Rybakina had to contend with nerves and a blistering start from her opponent before weathering the storm en route to victory. Hitting a total of 29 winners against 33 unforced errors, as well as winning 60% of her first service points. Meanwhile, Jabeur at times was highly emotional as she felt her opportunity of winning a major slowly slip away.

In what was a clash between two Grand Slam final debutantes, second seed Jabeur took a stronghold just three games into the match by breaking the blistering Rybakina serve. The Kazakh came into the final with the fastest average first-serve speed (109 mph) in the women’s draw. However, the Tunisians’ use of the slice and hitting deep towards the baseline overwhelmed her rival who was visibly nervous. This was clear at the end of the opener when Jabeur closed it out with the help of four consecutive Rybakina unforced errors.

After suffering that blow, Rybakina hit back stronger against Jabeur at the start of the second frame. A forehand down the line set her up with a chance to break, which she did with the help of a shot from her rival crashing into the net. It was at this point when Jabeur began to show visible signs of frustration with glares toward her camp and throwing her racket in the air. To make matters worse for the world No.2, she later failed to convert three break-back points during a marathon five-deuce game before dropping serve once again in the following game. Meanwhile, a now much calmer Rybankina took the match into a decider with relative ease. Doing so with a 117 mph ace.

The 17th seed continued her momentum into the decider by working her way to a 2-0 lead. As for her rival, she reached boiling point during the early stages after screaming at her team in the crowd when she failed to win one of the points.

Battling until the end, Rybakina came back from a 0-40 deficit in the sixth game to maintain her lead as she closed in on the title. Serving for the biggest win of her career, she prevailed on her first championship point at the expense of yet another Jebeur unforced error, her 23rd of the match.

I never expected to be in the second week of a Grand Slam at Wimbledon. To be a winner is just amazing,” said Rybakina.
“I wouldn’t be here without my team, so a big thanks to them.”

Rybakina’s triumph is ironic for officials at Wimbledon who have banned Russian and Belarussian players from participating in response to the war in Ukraine. She was born in Russia and spent 18 years living there before deciding to cut her ties with the Russian Tennis Federation after they were no longer willing to invest in her career. It was roughly four years ago when she started to represent Kazakhstan after negotiating a deal. Something other players have also done before.

As for runner-up Jabeur, she can still hold her head up high after becoming the first African woman in the Open Era to play in a major final.

“I Want to congratulate Elena and her team. You deserve this. Hopefully, it will be me next time,” she said.
“I love this tournament very much. I feel really sad but in tennis, there is only one winner. I am really happy that I am inspiring many generations from my country. I hope they are listening.”

Rybakina produced a total of 173 winners during her run to the Wimbledon title this year.

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French Open: Jack Draper Serves Up Trouble and is Upset by Dutch Qualifier De Jong

Brit Draper loses his longest ever tennis match in only his second five-setter of his career.

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Jack Draper crashed out at the first hurdle at the French Open after a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 6-3 loss to world number 176 Jesper de Jong – a qualifier who had come through three rounds to reach the main draw – who next faces third seed Carlos Alcaraz. 

In a titanic tussle lasting over four hours, the British number two could not find any rhythm on his serve, getting just 50% of his first deliveries in while winning only 51% of his second serves – resulting in him being broken an alarming nine times over the five sets.

“My serve has been a problem this year,” said Draper after the match. “I’m trying to change it to make it better, and obviously I’ve made those changes in the last few weeks. So, it’s not comfortable, especially in a grand slam playing in a fifth set on a second serve. You know, the confidence isn’t there at the moment on my serve, and it’s a problem I’m going to have to work on with coaches and see where I can make it more consistent because, yeah, it’s really letting me down.”

Dutchman De Jong took the opening two sets and was heading for a surprising routine victory before Draper showed some admirable fight to win the third on a tie-breaker before taking control of the fourth to push the match into a decider after a one-hour rain delay.

Draper, still only 22 with huge potential, still has time to understand how to navigate the fluctuations of long five setters and will be disappointed with the outcome of the fifth when he threw in yet another double-fault at 30-40 down in the seventh game to hand his opponent the initiative.  “I battled my way back, started playing a decent level. There was a lot of ebbs and flows in the match. That’s five-set tennis. I’m kind of learning that the more I play,” he added. 

Elsewhere in other results, sixth seed Andrey Rublev dropped a set in a tough battle against Japan’s Taro Daniel and next faces Spain’s Pedro Martinez, while eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz survived going two sets to one down before coming through easily in five against Shintaro Mochizuki from Japan. 

Bulgaria’s 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov recorded a routine win against American Aleksandar Kovacevic and French veteran, and wildcard Richard Gasquet was arguably more impressive in his straight sets win over Borna Coric of Croatia and potentially plays second seed Jannik Sinner next. 

However, in perhaps the biggest upset of the day, French number one and 17th seed Ugo Humbert lost 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in a match close to three hours and in front of home fans on Suzanne-Lenglen stadium court. 

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Giovanni Mpetchi Perricard claims his first ATP title in Lyon

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Giovanni Mpetchi Perricard battled past sixth seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4 1-6 7-6 (9-7) in a thrilling final at the Open Parc tournament in Lyon. 

Mpetchi Perricard saved four break points in the first game of the opening set to hold serve at deuce. Etcheverry converted his third break point in the fifth game and held serve at love to take a 4-2 lead. Mpetchi Perricard won four consecutive games to clinch the first set 6-4. 

Etcheverry broke three times to win the second set 6-1. 

The third set went on serve until the 11th game when Mpetchi Perricard converted his third break point to take a 6-5 lead. Etcheverry broke straight back to draw level to 6-6. Mpetchi Perricard was a point away from defeat at 6-7 in the tie-break of the third set, but he reeled off the final three points to win the tie-break 9-7 on his second championship point. 

Mpetchi Perricard won three Challenger Tour titles this year in Nottingham, Cuernavaca and Acapulco. He beat Lorenzo Sonego, Yoshihito Nishioka, Hugo Gaston and Alexander Bublik en route to his first ATP Tour title in Lyon.

Mpetchi Perricard is the son of footballer player Ghislain Mpetchi, who is of Congolese origin. He sister Daphnée Perricard is also a tennis player. 

“It was crazy. It was a very good final. I was down in the second set, but I managed to do better. I am very happy to win this tournament and now I have a lot of confidence for Roland Garros”, said Mpetchi Perricard.

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Casper Ruud claims the third title of his career in Geneva

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Casper Ruud claimed the third title of his career at the Gonet Geneva Open after his previous triumphs at this tournament in 2021 and 2022. 

Ruud did double duty after rain postponed his semifinal match to Saturday. Ruud saved a match point to beat Flavio Cobolli 1-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in the semifinal. He returned less than three hours to defeat Tomas Machac 7-5 6-3 in the final. Ruud clinched the ATP Tour title of his career. 

Machac went up a break in the third game of the first set to take a 3-1 lead. Ruud won three consecutive games from 4-5 down with two breaks in the first set after Machac committed a double fault while he was holding a set point on serve at 5-4. 

Ruud broke serve in the second game of the second set. The Norwegian player held on his next service games and served out the win on his first match point in 1 hour and 47 minutes. 

Ruud improved to 2-0 in his two head-to-head matches against Machac. “It was a challenging week. All the matches are tough, no matter who will play. It was tough to find a groove. The weather has been a bit challenging all week, but today was fantastic. I feel very happy to win again to win again here in Geneva. It’s been a very good season so far”, said Ruud. 

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