Marketa Vondrousova Upsets Jabeur To Claim Historic Wimbledon Trophy - UBITENNIS
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Marketa Vondrousova Upsets Jabeur To Claim Historic Wimbledon Trophy

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World No.42 Marketa Vondrousova has won her first major title at Wimbledon after defeating an error-stricken Ons Jabeur in the final on Saturday.

The underdog was undeterred by the enormity of the occasion as she battled her way to a 6-4, 6-4, victory to claim the biggest title of her career and her third win over Jabeur this year.

Vondrousova has become the first unseeded player to win the women’s title in the Open Era and is the lowest-ranked player to have ever done so since the ranking system was introduced. She is also the third Czech woman to have triumphed at the All England Club after Jana Novotna and Petra Kvitova.

“I don’t know what’s happening now, it’s an amazing feeling,” the new champion said during her on-court interview.
“Ons congratulations, you are such an inspiration for all of us and I hope you’re going to win one day. You’re an amazing person and congratulations, you guys are doing an amazing job,” She added.

With both women playing for the biggest title of their careers, the final began with a cat-and-mouse chase. Jabeur was the first to draw blood with the use of some deep slicing to draw errors from her opponent and break in the second game. However, Vondrousova responded instantly as she held her nerve to draw level. Much to the annoyance of the highly-animated Tunisian who repeatedly hit her thigh out of sheer anger after losing a point. 

Ironically the decisive factor in the opener wasn’t about who would break but who would be able to hold serve. Capitalizing on a series of Jabeur unforced errors (she produced 15 over 40 minutes), the Czech surged to a 5-4, 40-0, lead before sealing the set with a 106 mph serve out wide that her opponent returned into the net. 

The match seemed to be heading in a one-way direction after another lacklustre Jabeur game occurred at the start of the second set before she finally managed to regain the rhythm in her shotmaking. Much to the delight of the Wimbledon crowd who was cheering her on all the way.

However, it was only a short-lived comeback with Vondrousova battling back yet again to draw level. She then issued her final blow to Jabeur at 4-4 after the world No.6 hit two forehand unforced errors to drop serve yet again. Serving for the biggest win of her career, Vondrousova triumphed on her second championship point. 

“After everything I have been through, I had a cast last time, it’s amazing I can stand here and hold this. Tennis is crazy,” said Vondrousova.
“I don’t know how I’ve done it. The comebacks are not easy you never know what to expect. I was hoping I could comeback to this level and now I am here.”

It has been a fairytale journey for the 24-year-old who had only ever recorded two Tour-level wins on the grass coming into this season. Jabeur is the fifth seeded player she has beaten at Wimbledon this year. Earlier in the tournament she knocked out Jessica Pegula, Marie Bouzkova, Donna Vekic and Veronika Kudermetova.

The Czech’s triumph is made even sweeter considering the injury setbacks that have hampered her career. After she won her maiden WTA match in 2016 she was sidelined for six months with a left elbow injury. Three years later she reached the main stage of the sport by finishing runner-up to Ash Barty at the French Open. However, a month after that she missed more of the Tour due to wrist surgery. Then last year she had a second wrist surgery to treat a separate issue which resulted in another six-month absence.

Meanwhile, it is the third time Jabeur has lost a major final after Wimbledon and the US Open last year. She was bidding to become the first African woman in history to win a Grand Slam event and was in tears following her latest defeat.

“I think this is the most painful loss of my career,” said Jabeur.
“I want to say congrats to Marketa and her team for winning this amazing trophy. You are an amazing player and I know you have had a lot of injuries so I am very happy for you.’
“It’s going to be a tough day for me but I am not going to give up and I am going to come back stronger. It was an amazing tournament but I only wished I could make it till the end.”

Vondrousova will make her top 10 debut on Monday as a result of her Wimbledon triumph.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Karolina Pliskova Finding Her Footing With The Help Of New Coach Krajan

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Karolina Pliskova (CZE) playing against Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Karolina Pliskova’s resurgence on the Tour comes at a time when she has formed a new partnership with a well-known coach. 

After her first round loss at the Australian Open to Elena Rybakina, the Czech won nine consecutive matches on the Tour. In Romania, she claimed her 17th WTA title at the Winners Open before reaching the semi-finals of a WTA 1000 event in Doha. However, she was unable to play her semi-final clash against Iga Swiatek due to a lower back injury. During this period she has improved her ranking from 77th to 36th. 

Pliskova began the season without a coach at her side but is now working with Croatia’s Zeljko Krajan. A partnership she believes is showing promising signs already. 

“Personality-wise, I think he’s kind of similar to me,” Pliskova told WTA Insider. “Not really high or low. Relaxed and very like calm. 
“We didn’t really plan yet anything because now the schedule was difficult. I might be in qualifying in Indian Wells. Maybe I enter San Diego. So I don’t really know what’s gonna be. I’m just living day by day at the moment.” 

Krajan has worked with a series of players on both the WTA and ATP Tour’s. He guided Dinara Safina to three Grand Slam finals between 2008 and 2010. He has also worked with Borna Coric, Laura Robson, Marcos Baghdatis, Jelena Jankovic and Dominika cibulkova.

Pliskova, who is a former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam finalist, has endured a roller-coaster journey on the Tour in recent months with mixed results. Last season she failed to win back-to-back matches at 11 consecutive tournaments. 

So how has she managed to regain her form on the Tour?

“Motivation was never really a problem for me,” Pliskova said. “If I go on the court no matter how bad or good I feel, I always want to win. I always want to compete. 
“But my game is based on confidence and I need to feel that. Even if I’m not playing well or winning many matches, I just need to find that confidence in that moment or in that game because it’s just so risky. My shots are so flat, so I go for mostly lines. If something is not going well or you start to doubt, then of course you miss a little bit. Everything is about this.”

Unseeded at this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships, Pliskova beat China’s Zhang Shuai in the first round. She will next play Ashlyn Krueger in the second round on Tuesday.

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Elena Rybakina Eases Past Kasatkina To Win Abu Dhabi Open

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Elena Rybakina has captured her second title of the season after beating an erratic Daria Kasatkina in straight sets at the Abu Dhabi Open. 

The world No.5 stormed to a 6-1, 6-4, win over the Russian in just over an hour. It is the third time in Rybakina’s career that she has beaten Kasatkina on the Tour and she now leads their head-to-head 3-2. The triumph comes a month after she won the Brisbane International, which is also a WTA 500 event. 

Rybakina’s latest match saw her capitalise on her opponent’s costly mistakes. Kasatkina struggled with her serve throughout the majority of the final and only managed to hold twice in eight attempts. Opening the door for the former Wimbledon champion who hit 17 winners against 12 unforced errors en route to victory. 

“I want to thank the fans who came this week,” said the new champion. “It has been an amazing atmosphere, especially to see flags from Kazakhstan. It means a lot, thank you so much.”

A one-sided 25-minute opening set saw Rybakina claim four straight games to clinch an early lead. During to the opener, Kasatkina only managed to win 26% of her service points. It was the fourth time in the tournament that the Kazakh had won a set by conceding two or fewer games. 

Fortunately for world No.14 Kasatkina and the crowd, there was more of a battle in the second frame. Twice in a row Rybakina worked her way to a break advantage before losing it in the following game. Then at 4-4, she dealt the decisive blow by hitting a clean forehand winner to break yet against and this time had a chance to serve for the title. With the rain starting to fall, she converted her first championship point with the help of another error from across the net. 

The defeat for Kasatkina comes a day after she came through a marathon three-hour semi-final match before criticising the WTA over their tournament scheduling. She is currently set to play in the Qatar Open with her opening match taking place tomorrow. It is the sixth time in a row she has been beaten by a top-five player on the Tour. 

“Congratulations to Elena, you’ve had a great week,” she said.
“Thanks to my team who has always been next to me. I am really proud of the job we’ve done and how we are doing. Thanks for always believing in me.”

Rybakina also referred to the demanding calendar during the trophy presentation. 

“Tough week (for Kasatkina), especially the last matches. Tomorrow there is already a match in Doha but hopefully, we will both recover and do well there. Maybe also play (against each other) in the final there,” she said. 

Unlike Kasatkina, Rybakina has a first round bye in Doha. She has now won seven WTA trophies so far in her career. 

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