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Vondrousova was making her second Grand Slam final.
Markéta Vondroušová Having defied the odds throughout the last fortnight at Wimbledon, the Czech did so again in Saturday’s women’s final, becoming the first unseeded woman in the Open Era to win the popular tournament.
Playing in his second Grand Slam final, world no. The enormity of her feat hit her as she made history with a 42, 6-4, 6-4 win over the No. 6 seed on Center Court.
The lowest-ranked female player in the world has not reached a Wimbledon final since Serena Williams in 2018, when she was ranked 181st in the world. The last person to do so was Billie Jean King in 1963.
Vondrousova was a tourist in London last year and is still recovering from surgery on her left wrist. At the start of Wimbledon, seven months after her injury, no one expected her to participate in the championship, not even the player who stayed until the end of her husband in the Czech Republic. The cat, Frankie.
But Zabeer became the fifth-ranked player to fall under the age of 24 in the tournament as his unpredictability proved difficult for his opponents to overcome, especially as the Tunisian struggled despite several chances to take control of the match.
“Tennis is crazy,” Vondrousova, the former junior No. 1 and 2019 French Open runner-up, said in an on-court interview. “Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on right now, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Jabir was in tears after the defeat.
History would have been made regardless of which of the finalists lifted the Venus Rosewater dish, but the enormity of the occasion weighed heavily on Jabir, who has now lost his second consecutive Wimbledon final, he said after the defeat. The pain of her life. It was his third loss in a major final.
But that’s what pressures a player, especially carrying the hopes of not just a nation, but a continent, while trying to grapple with her own expectations, dreams and past failures. Zabeer again became the first Arab and African woman to win a Grand Slam, but her 31 unforced errors proved to be the case and the wait continues. The fact that she won just four of 10 break points will weigh heavily on her mind for some time.
“I’m not going to give up, I’m going to come back stronger,” she said at center court, wiping away tears.
Unpredictable and fearless
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Vondrousova missed last year’s Wimbledon as she recovers from a wrist injury.
Zapier had plenty of chances, especially in the first set, but only won two of seven break points and committed 17 unforced errors. Vondroušová figures to be upset as she takes control.
The finalists traded breaks in the second and third games of the tournament, leveling the tie at 2-2 after a series of absorbing, long baseline battles. Consecutive high layoffs – four in the opening seven games – nerves seeped into their game and added to the tension.
Vondrousova, the unpredictable left-hander, changed her tactics brilliantly. She kept changing the speed and spin of the ball and eventually took the first set, getting a crucial break in the ninth game to clinch the set.
Zabiur, 28, shook his head as he was broken in the opening game of the second set as his opponent made it six games in a row.
The shift in momentum was surprising, but Vondrousova has terrorized opponents throughout the past two weeks. Unable to predict what shot will come next, seeds of doubt begin to play in the mind.
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But things can change quickly in tennis, and just when Zabir seemed to be hanging on, Vondrousova came back from 40-0 down on serve to level the match. Confidence was restored, and a nation breathed a little easier. But only for a short time.
Jabir was still unable to land a killer blow on a player who refused to submit and, crucially, retreated immediately to keep up with the unpredictability of the match.
The crowd was rooting for Zapier, who said it was his dream to win at the All England Club, but their raucous support wasn’t enough, and at 4-4 Vondrousova broke again and served for the match, a backhand volley a famous winner.