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Vondrousova was in her first 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.
The world number 42, who was playing in her first Grand Slam final, created history by beating the sixth seed 6-4 6-4 on Center Court.
Not since the American, who was ranked 181st in the world, Serena Williams in 2018, has not reached a Wimbledon final where a female player has fallen further down the world rankings. The last person to do so was Billie Jean King in 1963.
At the start of the tournament, no one expected Vondroušová to compete in the championship, not even her husband, who stayed until the end to take care of their cat, Frankie, in the Czech Republic.
But Zabeer became the fifth-seeded Under-24 player in the tournament as her unpredictability proved difficult for her opponents to overcome, especially as the Tunisian struggled despite several chances to take control of the match.
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 puts pressure on a player, especially one who carries the hopes of not only 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 costly and the wait continues.
“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, an unpredictable underdog who changed her game brilliantly, kept changing the pace and spin of the ball as she eventually took the first set, earning a crucial break in the ninth game to clinch the set.
Japier was broken in the opening game of the second set, shaking his head as his opponent reeled off six games in a row.
The change of pace has been surprising, but Vondrousova has dominated her opponents throughout these past two weeks. Unable to predict what shot will come next, seeds of doubt begin to play in the mind.
But things can change quickly in tennis, and just when Zabir seemed to be hanging on, Vondrousova came back to tie the match at 40-0 on the serve. Confidence was restored, and a nation breathed a little easier.
However, Jabir was still unable to keep up with the unpredictability of the match. At 4-4, Vondrusova broke Jabur and served out for the match, the enormity of her feat hitting her.