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Friday, December 9, 2022

Elena Rybakina beats Ons Jabeur in women’s singles final

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Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina became the first player from Kazakhstan to win a Grand Slam title by beating Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur in a gripping Wimbledon final.

Rybakina, 23, fought back to win 3-6 6-2 6-2 and become the youngest Wimbledon singles champion since 2011.

After a shaky first set, she improved and pressured Jabeur into errors.

Rybakina was born in Moscow and her victory comes in a year where Wimbledon banned Russians from playing.

The All England Club did not allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete at this year’s tournament in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rybakina, who changed allegiance in 2018 after receiving greater financial support from Kazakhstan, was presented with the Venus Rosewater Dish by the Duchess of Cambridge, who has publicly supported Ukraine’s fight.

The 17th seed clinched victory with her first match point when Jabeur pulled a backhand wide.

Initially there was little emotion from the new champion, who simply raised her right arm in the air as part of a muted celebration.

After sharing a warm embrace with Jabeur at the net, Rybakina received a respectful round of applause before then running up a gangway of the stairs to hug her team.

“Words can’t say how happy I am,” she said.

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