Elena Rybakina claims historic maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon

Jamie Shaw in Wimbledon 09 Jul 2022
Rybakina lifts the trophy (Photo credit: Abaca Press/Alamy Stock Photo)

Elena Rybakina secured her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon by recovering from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur in the final.

The 23-year-old etched her name into the history books at the All England Club by becoming the youngest Wimbledon singles champion since 2011.

Jabeur, who was also bidding to win her first major title, began strongly by sealing the first set 6-3, but was pressured into errors from the start of the second.

The number 17 seed gained an early break and hold to kick-start the fightback, and a further break paved the way for her to comfortably take the set 6-2.

The deciding set followed a similar pattern as Rybakina opened up an early two-game advantage, averting three break points from Jabeur to move 4-2 ahead before breaking herself in the following game and going on to serve out the match.

“I’m speechless,” said Rybakina. “Words can’t say how happy I am.”

“The crowd were unbelievable and I want to congratulate Ons, you are an inspiration. It was a joy to play against you.

“It’s an honour to play here in this unbelievable atmosphere.

“I didn’t expect to be in the second week. To be a winner is just amazing. I wouldn’t be here without my team of course, so I want to say a big thanks to them. And most importantly my parents.”

Despite being born in Moscow, Rybakina becomes the first player of Kazakh nationality to win a Grand Slam title and dropped just one set en route to the final in only her second main draw appearance at Wimbledon.

Tunisian trailblazer Jabeur was aiming to create her own history by becoming the first Arab player to win a Grand Slam title, but became the first woman since Justine Henin-Hardenne in 2006 to squander a one-set lead in the final.

“I love this tournament so much and I feel really sad, but it’s tennis – there is only one winner,” admitted Jabeur.

“I’m trying to inspire many generations from my country. I hope they are listening.”

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