By Paul Lagan at Wimbledon
Women’s singles final.
Vondrousova v Jabeur 6,4, 6,4
Well the crowd favourite Ons Jabeur will just have to endure another year of agony as she slipped to successive singles defeats in the final at Wimbledon this afternoon, going down 4,6, 4,6 to unseeded Marketa Vondrousova.
The roof was on, it felt quite humid, and that subsided a normally partisan crowd who has taken the Tunisian to their corner for the tournament.
Quite why the roof was on is anyone’s guess as only a bit of wind was forecast, no rain, and this is an outdoor championships after all.
It may have given hard serving Vondrousova an advantage and her serve was certainly the deadliest of her weapons.
She also perfected many excellent sliced returns which probably ensured rallies went on longer than Jabeur would have liked.
The Czech kept her nerve more often than the Tunisian.
The match was noticeable for the numerous errors as much as for the much fewer actual winners and this ultimately decided the match.
It won’t go down as a classic, but it was history-making as she became the first unseeded woman to win the title.
A tense opening three games, which all went with serve was what one would expect for a final.
The fourth game however took on titanic proportions with the Czech player struggling to hold her serve, she survived a couple of advantages, where the Tunisian showed greater shot variation, but was let down on two occasions by slightly wayward drives that went long or wide.
Vondrousova showed a high degree of resilience and eventually won it when she dug deep with a powerful backhand sliced drive that went deep but in and Jabeur responded by hitting her return into the net.
An easily held serve by Jabeur resulted in another bout of attention focusing on whether Vondrousova could hold hers – she went love 30 down.
Then she faced three break points and then produced a long drive, which signalled a 4-2 lead.
Jabeur then got the jitters, going love 40 on her serve. A drop shot by Jabeur was met beautifully by Vondrousova, who stroked a winner down the line to make it 3-4 on her serve, which she held well.
Jabeur then simply forgot what her tactics were and drove wayward efforts needlessly wide while Vondrousova held nerve and ensured she kept her ball in play.
Some strong first serves aided Vondrousova‘s cause and she soon had three set points.
She needed just one to take the first set 6-4.
It went from bad to worse for the crowd favourite as she promptly lost her serve to 30 with wides and nets – all unforced and not as a result Vondrousova‘s having to do anything special.
Vondrousova took a 40, 15 lead before her first serve deserted her. She was pulled back to deuce before facing a break and then a terrific rally resulted with yet another break and reprieve for Jabeur.
The Tunisian’s confidence was restored and she returned to her tactics of pushing and pulling Vondrousova all over the court, before sealing the rally with a winner.
It certainly worked for her serve to take her 2-1 up in the second set.
She repeated it in the next game to break Vondrousova to take a 3-1 lead.
But inexplicably, Jabeur went into her shell again and yet another break of serve ensured, leaving the set nicely balanced at 2-3 on Vondrousova’a serve.
A double fault while 30 love up gave an indication of the tension in the Czech’s play.
But she recovered brilliantly and even losing out to a net chord, she still forced the points and restored parity at 3-3.
Jabeur had a slight wobble on her serve but scrapped through it, Vondrousova held hers more comfortably.
The crowd then groaned as Jabeur smacked a simple drive into the net to be broken again.
I suspect they were more concerned about the match ending earlier than expected with Vondrousova only needing to hold her serve, granted, not an easy thing to do, but if she did, she would be Wimbledon champion.
A wild swing by Jabeur gave the server first point.
This was quickly followed by a return to the net to make it 30, love.
Some wonderful returns saw Jabeur thrown all over the court and set up three championship points.
She then double-faulted. Was the pressure too great?
No it wasn’t as Vondrousova collapsed to the court as she swung her racquet onto the ball and it arrowed away for a win set and the title.
Pictured top: Marketa Vondrousova lifts the trophy (All pictures by Charlie Stong)
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