Ons Jabeur raced through to the French Open second round after a commanding 6-3 6-2 victory over Sachia Vickery.

The three-time major runner-up took just 81 minutes to book her place in round two at Roland Garros, where she was a quarter-finalist 12 months ago.

A combination of injuries and inconsistent form meant Jabeur arrived in Paris with a 6-9 record for 2024, suffering a first-round exit to Sofia Kenin at the Italian Open last time out.

However, the eighth seed looked in fine fettle on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, with early breaks in both sets paving the way for a comfortable passage into round two at the expense of the American wildcard.

The most recent of her grand slam final defeats came last year at Wimbledon against Marketa Vondrousova, who was also a dominant winner in round one.

Runner-up to Ashleigh Barty in 2019, the fifth seed's quest to go one better five years later began with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Spain's Rebeka Masarova.

Data Debrief: Jabeur On it

Jabeur will not have known what to expect following a stop-start 2024 thus far. However, the Tunisian looked sharp as she won 23 out of 28 points on her first serve, as well as nine of 11 net points.

The eighth seed dominated her opponent with 30 winners to eight, while her drop shots (22-4) were also on point throughout the contest.

Iga Swiatek has booked her place in the Madrid Open semi-finals after battling back from a set down to defeat Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The top seed, who made it to the final last year, dropped a set for the first time in this tournament before recovering to win 4-6 6-0 6-2 in a match that lasted just short of two-and-a-half hours.

These two players met in the French Open semi-finals last year and 11th seed Haddad Maia was eyeing an upset when she fought back from 4-1 down to claim the opener.

But Swiatek dropped serve just once in the next two sets as she assumed full control and swept to victory, powered by winning eight straight games from the start of the second set.

Data Debrief: Swiatek statistics up there with the best

Up next for Swiatek will be a last-four clash against either Ons Jabeur or Madison Keys, who play later on Tuesday. That will be her 15th WTA 1000 semi-final appearance since 2020, with no other player having made it to double figures (Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari are the next best on eight each).

Beating Haddad Maia also means Swiatek has equalled Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova as the fastest player to reach 25 WTA 1000 wins on clay, doing so in just 29 matches.

And Swiatek's emphatic second set saw her tie Coco Gauff for the most number of 6-0 sets won so far this year. They both have seven, just ahead of Sabalenka (five).

Defending champion Sabalenka plays Mirra Andreeva in the last eight on Wednesday after battling past Danielle Collins in three sets. All three of her wins so far have been in deciding sets.

The other last-eight clash is between Elena Rybakina and Yulia Putintseva.

Ons Jabeur cruised into the Madrid Open quarter-finals on Monday, spending just over an hour on court in a statement 6-0 6-4 win over ninth seed Jelena Ostapenko. 

Jabeur, who won her first and so far only WTA 1000 title in Madrid in 2022 then missed last year's tournament through injury, made it nine wins in a row in the Spanish capital to book a last-eight meeting with either Coco Gauff or Madison Keys.

Eighth seed Jabeur only needed 68 minutes to see off the former French Open champion, not dropping a game in a 21-minute opener in which she won 88 per cent of first-serve points.

Ostapenko improved in the second set, breaking back immediately after losing serve in the opening game, but Jabeur got the crucial break to go 5-4 up before serving the contest out.

Data Debrief: Jabeur dominates on the clay

Jabeur's win sealed her third quarter-final appearance at a WTA 1000-level event on clay since 2020. Only world number one Iga Swiatek (four) has reached more during that span.

A dominant start did the trick for the Tunisian on Monday, as she became the first player to take an opening set 6-0 against a top-10 ranked player in Madrid since the 2021 final, when Aryna Sabalenka did so in her victory over Ashleigh Barty.

Aryna Sabalenka completed a ruthless defence of her Australian Open title by beating first-timer Zheng Qinwen in the final.

The world number two lifted her first grand-slam trophy at Melbourne Park 12 months ago and has been untouchable this fortnight.

She did not drop a set in seven matches and defeated Zheng 6-3 6-2 to become the first player since countrywoman Victoria Azarenka 11 years ago to claim back-to-back titles.

Zheng, who had not had to face a top-50 player through the first six rounds, had hoped to emulate the watching Li Na and claim the title for China a decade on.

But the 21-year-old, the 12th first-time slam finalist in the women’s game in the last three years, was up against it from the start and Sabalenka wrapped up victory in only 76 minutes despite a brief disruption from pro-Palestine protesters.

Zheng was the first player this century to reach a slam final without facing a seeded opponent, and the low rankings of her opponents made this a huge step up.

Early nerves were evident and Sabalenka set straight about seizing on the Zheng serve, breaking for 2-0 and then holding from 0-40 in another statement of intent.

Zheng has struggled with the consistency of her serve this tournament but, when she has made the first delivery, it has been very effective, and two aces helped her get on the board in the fourth game.

The Chinese fans in the crowd were making their presence felt but, while Zheng came up with more big serving to save three set points at 5-2, Sabalenka finished it off decisively on her own delivery.

The Belarusian has ridden emotional highs and lows throughout her career, and her stellar 2023 could have brought her more than one slam title had she not wobbled in defeats by Karolina Muchova, Ons Jabeur and Coco Gauff.

The latter came in the US Open final after Sabalenka had dominated the first set, but here she has been steely on and off court, claiming a cathartic win over Gauff in the semi-finals.

Zheng had won just five games in their only previous meeting in the quarter-finals in New York last summer, and her hopes of doing better were hit by a disastrous start to the second set, serving three double faults in the opening game.

With Zheng trying to hold in the third game, the match was briefly delayed when two spectators held up a Palestinian flag in the stands and shouted until they were hauled away by security to cheers from the remaining fans.

Zheng kept her composure to get on the board but her serve had really dropped off and Sabalenka broke again to lead 4-1.

Zheng managed some brief late resistance, saving four match points, but Sabalenka crunched a forehand winner on her fifth chance before thrusting her arms into the air.

Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva pulled off the result of the Australian Open so far by beating Ons Jabeur in the second round.

Andreeva allowed the sixth seed and two-time Wimbledon finalist just two games in a 6-0 6-2 hammering, but defending champion Aryna Sabalenka avoided a repeat against another 16-year-old, Brenda Fruhvirtova.

Novak Djokovic had to save four set points in the third set before overcoming Australia’s Alexei Popyrin, the defending champion appearing to be spurred on by an exchange of words with a spectator on Rod Laver Arena in his 6-3 4-6 7-6 (4) 6-3 victory.

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Women: Ons Jabeur (6), Caroline Garcia (16), Leylah Fernandez (32)
Men: France Tiafoe (17), Francisco Cerundolo (22), Lorenzo Musetti (25)

Who’s up next?

The remaining four British singles players are all in action on Thursday, with three on the same court.

Cameron Norrie opens proceedings on 1573 Arena before Katie Boulter and Emma Raducanu both play Chinese opponents for the right to meet each other, while Jack Draper faces 14th seed Tommy Paul.

In the day session on Rod Laver Arena, Iga Swiatek faces Danielle Collins, while Carlos Alcaraz takes on Lorenzo Sonego.

Teenage star Mirra Andreeva produced a stunning performance to demolish Ons Jabeur in the second round of the Australian Open for the loss of only two games.

The 16-year-old was devastated to lose in the girls’ singles final last year but quickly made an impression in the senior game with runs to the third round of the French Open and the fourth round of Wimbledon.

Andreeva counts Jabeur as her idol but she was utterly ruthless under the roof on Rod Laver Arena, defeating the sixth seed and two-time Wimbledon finalist 6-0 6-2 in just 54 minutes.

Jabeur could only smile in astonishment at some of the shots Andreeva played, while she celebrated like an underdog when she finally won a game at the start of the second set.

She was unable to stall Andreeva for long, though, with the young Russian branding it the best match she has played.

“In the first set I played really amazing tennis, I didn’t expect that from myself,” said the teenager.

“I’m happy I played with Ons. It was one of my dreams to play against her, because I really like the way she plays. It meant a lot, this match that I won.

“She’s so nice. Now, after the match, she came to me, she wished me luck. I just know that she is who she is and she never changes.”

Andreeva is projected to rise inside the top 35 as a result of her run here despite being severely restricted in how many tournaments she can play because of her age.

She is trying not to be in too much of a hurry, saying: “I don’t think that I achieve something incredible, so I have time still to do that. Sometimes when I’m lying in bed, I can overthink a little bit, but the next morning I’m totally fine.

“I’m 16. Why do I have to think about the rankings? I’m going a bit higher, and so my goal is to go higher and higher. I just try not to think about that and just to think about tennis.”

Another young Russian making waves in Melbourne is 20-year-old qualifier Maria Timofeeva, who is playing in the main draw of a grand slam for the first time and ended former champion Caroline Wozniacki’s comeback.

The Dane retired here four years ago and is back with her two young children in tow but she could not build on a strong start, losing 1-6 6-4 6-1.

Wozniacki has other responsibilities now but she could not hide her disappointment, saying: “I would like to say that in my mind I can just kind of brush it under the carpet but it sucks just as much.

“Losing now and losing back then, it doesn’t really change. As a competitor, you want to win everything. When you have the family here and you bring everyone, you want to win even more because you want to stay longer and not have to move around.

“I felt like this was my match to win, and I didn’t.”

World number two Iga Swiatek and world number three Coco Gauff have both secured their spots in the semi-finals of the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.

Poland’s Swiatek confirmed her position with a 6-1 6-2 win over world number six Ons Jabeur.

Earlier, Gauff claimed a victory for US tennis fans in a battle of two of the major champions from this year.

She defeated Marketa Vondrousova 5-7 7-6 (4) 6-3 in the final round of group play on Friday night, ending the Czech player’s chances of advancing to the semi-finals.

The win was another feather in the cap for Gauff, making her the first teenager to make the final four of the year-end championships since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009.

She will now face Jessica Pegula while Swiatek takes on Aryna Sabalenka.

Ons Jabeur will bounce back from her second straight Wimbledon final defeat by winning a "deserved" grand slam, according to Iva Majoli.

Jabeur was beaten 6-4 6-4 in the Wimbledon showpiece match by Marketa Vondrousova, who claimed her first grand slam and became the first ever unseeded champion at SW19.

The loss was Jabeur's second Wimbledon final defeat in as many years, with the Tunisian world number six still yet to win a grand slam despite reaching three finals in the last two years.

However, Majoli, who won the French Open in 1997 when she beat Martina Hingis in the final to deny her Swiss opponent the Grand Slam, is confident Jabeur will get over her recent disappointment by finally winning a major final.

"I think this loss was tough," Majoli told Stats Perform. "I'm sure everyone was expecting Ons [to win] and I love Ons.

"I think in the end there was maybe too much pressure on her. But from the beginning, I said that it was going to be a tough match.

"I think this loss was probably tougher than the one last year and I think she was expecting a lot from herself and I think she was expecting that she's going to win it. But life writes stories and it's not always how you expect.

"I think she will come back and I really wish she's going to win a slam because she deserves it."

Vondrousova's victory was historic, as she became the lowest-ranked player to win the Wimbledon ladies' title.

She also became the first unseeded woman to reach the final in 60 years.

Asked whether Vondrousova's unlikely triumph was a sign of strength or weakness in the women's game, Majoli replied: "There have been a lot of ups and downs, there have been a lot of wins and then disappearances and then wins again.

"But I think there is a strong young generation coming up. It was great to see Marketa Vondrousova winning.

"Marketa being a lefty is very dangerous. She was playing amazingly the whole tournament. And I always think the left-handers are a danger, like Petra Kvitova. So I would love to see them doing much, much better in the tournaments and in the rankings."

Marketa Vondrousova must follow the example of Elena Rybakina to ensure her shock Wimbledon success results in becoming a top-10 regular, according to Marion Bartoli.

The 24-year-old became the first unseeded player to win the women's singles at Wimbledon with a shock straight sets victory over favourite Ons Jabeur in the final.

Vondrousova had previously reached the French Open final four years ago but had endured a tumultuous period since due to injuries and inconsistent form, while grass was seen as her weakest surface.

Her victory is the latest in a long line of shock major wins in the women's game, with Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu among the others to cause upsets in recent years.

But the lack of a dominant group of players in women's grand slams is not a big concern to Bartoli, who made two Wimbledon finals in her career, winning once.

She has urged the crop of recent major winners, including Vondrousova, to take up the challenge of proving their successes were not flukes.

Bartoli cites the example of 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina, who is now ranked three in the world and reached the last eight this year before losing out to Jabeur, as one to follow.

"I don't see it as an issue – there is nothing you can do about it," Bartoli, who won Wimbledon in 2013, said to Stats Perform when asked about the recent trend in grand slams.

"I mean, you just can't say to a player, 'Oh, but why don't you win every single grand slam like Serena Williams?' All those [top-ranked] girls are trying their hardest when they're on the court, sometimes they're losing when they should have won, like Ons losing that final. 

"But it's not like you can go and say to her 'Oh, yeah, but why don't you try harder?' She tried her heart out on the court and tried absolutely everything to win. It just didn't happen. 

"You have new names, some newcomers are coming and winning, it was the same when Raducanu won her first grand slam, it was the same when Andreescu won.

"Now it's Marketa winning her first. It was slightly more of a shocker when Raducanu won because she came from the qualification. That was an even bigger story and then to become this £20million girl that gets all those contracts in the UK. She was into US Open qualifying and then three weeks later she was a mega superstar.

"Was tennis different back then when I was playing? Of course. Then you had 15 or 20 names who were coming back all the time. 

"It was extremely difficult just to get yourself inside the top 20 or into the top 10 because you had Serena and Venus, Kim Clijsters and all the Russians, you just didn't have the space. 

"But I like those news stories. I like those fairytale stories. I just hope that those girls can now stay there. 

"For Marketa [I hope] that she can bring that level constantly so she can be a face in the top 10 and people can come back to Wimbledon next year and say ‘OK, I know her now, she's top five, she has done this, she has this result somewhere’, like Rybakina in some ways. 

"Rybakina won last year but she came back this year and she was top three, so it's not like she was a fluke. 

"So if those breakthrough girls can now say 'I'm still part of the conversation, I'm coming back and I'm top five or top 10' then we are in for a great WTA Tour."

Vondrousova is the sixth unseeded player to win a grand slam title in the last decade, after Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Iga Swiatek, Barbora Krejcikova and Raducanu.

Bartoli feels it will take a while for the magnitude of her win to sink in, particularly when it was so unexpected. Vondrousova had only won four matches on grass before the tournament.

She added: "It's difficult to actually soak it in that quickly – for me, it took several days, even several weeks to be able to really understand what I just achieved, especially when you win for the first time.

"For Novak [Djokovic] or Roger [Federer] or all those players who have won Wimbledon on multiple occasions, then it almost becomes normal for them. Of course there is the happiness of achieving winning another grand slam, but it's not as much as a big deal as when it's your first one or your first Wimbledon in the case of Carlos Alcaraz.

"Especially for Marketa Vondrousova, being unseeded, it was completely unexpected for her to have that sort of run and being the total outsider in the final and coming out, playing great tennis and winning in straight sets as well.

"At the beginning of the tournament, no one would have thought to put her into the top five or top 10 contenders to go and win the title, and it is even more of a surprise after all the injuries she suffered.

"But all credit to her. She had some really tough matches, when you really have to push yourself that much you absolutely deserve to win your first grand slam title." 

Wimbledon is over for another year.

The British grand slam brought with it plenty of twists and turns, not least in the men's singles final on Sunday, as Carlos Alcaraz overcame Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller.

A day before Alcaraz sealed his second major title with that 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 success, Marketa Vondrousova won her first grand slam with a surprise 6-4 6-4 victory over Ons Jabeur.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks back at the best statistics from the last two weeks at the All England Club.

King Carlos

It looked like it might be a bad day at the office for Alcaraz when Djokovic cruised to a 6-1 win in the first set on Centre Court, but the Spaniard came back with a bang.

Alcaraz is an incredible talent that looks set to take up the mantle left by Rafael Nadal, and while Djokovic was at times at his dominant best, it still wasn't enough to down the world number one.

At 20, Alcaraz is the third-youngest player in the Open Era to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon, after Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg.

And he is now the youngest player in the Open Era to win the singles title at both the US Open and Wimbledon.

Nadal was the only previous Spaniard to win the coveted trophy, as Alcaraz became the first player not called Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray to triumph at the All England Club since 2002 - before he was even born.

He became the first player to defeat three top-10 opponents en route to winning the Wimbledon title since Pete Sampras did so in 1994, while after claiming the title at Queen's, Alcaraz is the second-youngest player to win 12+ consecutive grass-court matches (Boris Becker was the youngest to achieve the feat, with 13 straight wins in 1985 between the Queen's Club and Wimbledon).

No Grand Slam for Novak

Djokovic became the second player in the Open Era to reach multiple men's singles grand slam finals in a single year after turning 36, after Ken Rosewall in 1974. He also overtook Chris Evert (34) as the player with the most appearances in major finals, among both men and women (35).

Only Federer, with 46, can match the Serbian's tally of grand slam semi-final appearances in the Open Era, meanwhile.

The 36-year-old also became just the third player in the Open Era, after Federer and Jimmy Connors, to play in 100 men's singles matches at Wimbledon.

Djokovic had not lost a five-set grand slam final since losing to Andy Murray in the 2012 US Open.

Indeed, Djokovic had not lost at Wimbledon since going down to Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals and the final was his first loss on Centre Court for 10 years, since Murray beat him in the famous 2013 final.

Vondrousova victorious

Vondrousova is the first unseeded player to win the women's singles title at Wimbledon in the Open Era. It marked only her second career WTA Tour title, following her success at Biel in 2017.

She is the lowest-ranked player to win the singles title in Wimbledon since the WTA Rankings were introduced.

The Czech was playing in her second grand slam final, having previously lost to Ashleigh Barty at the 2019 French Open.

Vondrousova now holds a record of 3-2 head-to-head against Jabeur, with the latter winning their only previous meeting on grass, at Eastbourne in 2021. All the Tunisian's losses Vondrousova have come in 2023.

Vondrousova is the sixth unseeded player to win a grand slam title in the last decade, after Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Iga Swiatek, Barbora Krejcikova and Emma Raducanu.

The 24-year-old is the third Czech woman to win the singles title at Wimbledon, after Jana Novotna (1998) and Petra Kvitova (2011, 2014).

Meanwhile, Jabeur became the first player since Simona Halep to lose each of her first three singles finals at grand slams, while the 28-year-old is the third player in the 21st century to lose successive Wimbledon finals after Venus Williams (2002, 2003) and Serena Williams (2018, 2019).

Wimbledon threw up a historic surprise in the women’s singles before Novak Djokovic’s long reign in the men’s tournament came to an end.

Czech world number 42 Marketa Vondrousova beat crowd favourite Ons Jabeur to become the first unseeded women’s champion in the competition’s history.

And a day later Carlos Alcaraz became the new King of Centre Court when he dethroned Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at the 2023 Championships.

Unseeded and undefeated

Vondrousova spent last year’s Wimbledon in a cast and her SW19 experience was just to watch best friend Miriam Kolodziejova in qualifying. She ended the 2023 edition as the first unseeded women’s champion in the event’s history.

The Olympic silver medallist beat four seeds to reach the semi-finals, where she ended the emotional run of Ukrainian wild card Elina Svitolina.

She was the underdog once more in the final against last year’s runner-up Ons Jabeur, but overcame early nerves to win in straight sets and lift the Venus Rosewater Dish.

The future is now

Djokovic had not lost at Wimbledon since 2017 and had not been defeated on Centre Court since Andy Murray beat him in the 2013 final. Enter Alcaraz.

The Spanish world number one overcame a wobbly first set to beat the seven-time champion in five epic sets.

The calendar Grand Slam continues to elude Djokovic, but he will still be heavily backed to win another major title in his career and match Margaret Court’s record of 24.

But Alcaraz’s progress on grass means the odds of equalling Roger Federer’s eight titles in SW19 will have lengthened.

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British interest in the adult singles competitions ended in the first week, with Liam Broady and Katie Boulter both losing in the third round.

Andy Murray’s hopes of a long run were ended by fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round, while Cameron Norrie – who reached the semi-finals a year ago – also exited at the same stage to exciting American Chris Eubanks.

But it was not all doom and gloom for the host nation.

Wolverhampton’s Henry Searle won the boys’ singles final – the first British boy to do so since Stanley Matthews in 1961 – Liverpudlian Neal Skupski was victorious in the men’s doubles title with his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof and Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid lifted the men’s wheelchair doubles title.

Russia and Belarus return

After being banned from the 2022 edition due to the war in Ukraine, players from Russia and Belarus returned this summer.

Generally, they were well received by the crowds but organisers would likely have breathed a sigh of relief when Aryna Sabalenka and Daniil Medvedev both fell at the semi-final stage, avoiding the possibility of the Princess of Wales presenting the trophy to a Belarusian or Russian player.

The only controversy came when Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was booed off court following her fourth-round defeat by Ukrainian Svitolina.

Azarenka, who put up her hand to acknowledge Svitolina knowing her opponent did not wish to shake hands with a player from the aggressor countries, branded fans “drunk” and unfair.

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Kim Clijsters has advised Ons Jabeur to “fake it until you make it” after another heartbreaking grand slam final defeat.

The popular Tunisian could not overcome her nerves in a 6-4 6-4 loss to Marketa Vondrousova that made it back-to-back Wimbledon final losses.

A US Open final defeat to Iga Swiatek was sandwiched in between and Jabeur now joins an unwanted club of players who have lost their first three grand slam finals.

Like Andy Murray, it took Belgian Clijsters five attempts before she finally won one, and she shared tears with Jabeur in the locker room

“Just watching her in her interview and seeing the emotions afterwards, it brings back a lot of memories and thoughts of how you go about it,” said Belgian Clijsters.

“There’s no secret, it’s just trying to give yourself the opportunity to get to that stage again. The unfortunate thing is you cannot practise these things, you cannot practise being in a grand slam final, you can only do it within the occasion.

“The biggest thing she has to maybe learn is to fake it, fake it until you make it. You could see it really clearly that the negative emotions were taking over.

“If she missed a shot, there was the natural kind of reaction that was negative. When she made a great point, there was nothing a lot of the time. That just showed the doubt was overpowering everything.”

Clijsters lost twice in French Open finals and once each at the Australian Open and US Open before her maiden success in New York in 2005.

“It’s tough,” said the 40-year-old, who went on to win four major titles. “But there shouldn’t be any question in her mind about whether she can do it or not. She can beat all these players, there’s no doubt about that.

“For me the most disappointing is not so much the loss, it’s the fact that you weren’t able to bring your best tennis to the biggest occasion, and that’s the most frustrating and that’s why you start to worry – why am I not able to do it? Why am I so overwhelmed with emotions on the big stage?

“But it does feel good eventually when you get it. It’s definitely a process. I just know looking back I wasn’t ready to win and I’m very happy I didn’t win my first.”

Jabeur was grateful for Clijsters’ support and is encouraged that many other players have been through similar adversity before eventually getting their hands on a winners’ trophy.

“I love Kim so much,” said Jabeur. “She’s a great inspiration for me. I grew up watching her a bit. The fact that she takes the time to give me advice and to really hug me, always be there for me, I think it’s priceless.

“She was telling me all the time she lost four. That’s the positive out of it. You cannot force things. It wasn’t meant to be.”

History will be made on women’s final day as Tunisian Ons Jabeur takes on Czech Marketa Vondrousova.

A new name will on the Venus Rosewater Dish after the Centre Court showpiece as last year’s runner-up takes on the first unseeded women’s finalist in SW19 since 1963.

Elsewhere, Neal Skupski is going for a Wimbledon hat-trick and the schedule is playing catch up as play was washed out on the outside courts on Friday.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at day 13.

Ons the way to redemption

Ons Jabeur is back in the Wimbledon final 12 months after she suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Elena Rybakina.

The Tunisian has said that 2022 was never her time, but there is a real sense she is now ready to become a grand slam champion.

She has looked every inch the title contender throughout the tournament with her all-round game and fighting spirit getting her this far.

If she can go one better than last year then she will become the first female singles winner of a grand slam from an Arab or African country.

Vondrousova’s road to recovery

Marketa Vondrousova is also on the path to redemption after injury stalled her promising career.

After reaching the French Open as a teenager in 2019, she has suffered with health issues and revealed that her only participation in Wimbledon last year was watching her best friend in qualification at Roehampton while wearing a cast on her left wrist.

But 12 months on she is in the final after going under the radar until ending Elina Svitolina’s emotional run in the last four.

She will have extra support in her box as her husband has found a cat sitter so is travelling over for the match.

And if she wins, she will become the first unseeded women’s title winner in Wimbledon history.

Skupski going for the hat-trick

Not since Dorothy Round in 1937 has a British player won a hat-trick of Wimbledon titles, but Neal Skupski could be about to emulate that achievement.

The Liverpudlian won the mixed doubles in 2021 and 2022 and is now going for the “pinnacle” in the men’s doubles with Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof.

Skupski will not have his brother and coach Ken in his box as he went on a family holiday to Ibiza on Friday, but he did provide tactical analysis via video.

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who beat Skupski and Koolhof at the French Open, stand in the way.

Order of play

 

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Centre Court
Marketa Vondrousova v Ons Jabeur
Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski v Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos

 

Court One
Alfie Hewett v Martin De La Puente
Wozniacki/Black v Radwanska/O’Brien
Hewett/Reid v Miki/Oda

Weather

Very strong winds, with the chance of early showers.

Ons Jabeur hopes she has served her apprenticeship as she bids to take the final step and win a maiden grand slam title on Saturday.

No other woman can match the Tunisian’s achievement in reaching three grand slam finals in the last five tournaments after finishing as runner-up at Wimbledon last year to Elena Rybakina and at the US Open to Iga Swiatek.

Jabeur has certainly proved her grass-court credentials this fortnight, beating grand slam champions in the last four rounds, including Rybakina and second seed Aryna Sabalenka from a set down.

“Last year was my first final of a grand slam,” said Jabeur. “I’m definitely getting closer to winning the grand slam that I always wished.

“I would say I always believed. But sometimes you would question and doubt it if it’s going to happen, if it’s ever going to happen. Being in the last stages, I think it does help you believe more.

“I’m going to learn a lot from not only Wimbledon’s final but also US Open final, and give it my best. Maybe this year was all about trying two times and getting it right the third time.”

Standing in Jabeur’s way is an unexpected finalist in Czech Marketa Vondrousova, who reached the 2019 French Open final as a teenager but has been mostly off the radar since.

Having already beaten the players who defeated her at Wimbledon the last two years, Jabeur will now aim to make it third time lucky in another way having lost to Vondrousova twice this year, at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

It will be a match for the purists, with Jabeur and Vondrousova the two best exponents of the drop shot in the women’s game and possessing far more in their arsenals than simply power.

Jabeur said: “I’m going for my revenge. I didn’t win against her this year. She has good hands. She plays very good.

“I will try to focus on myself a lot. I’m not sure how she’s going to play (in her) second grand slam final. We’re both hungry to win. Whoever deserves it more will win.”

Jabeur is already the first African woman and Arab player to reach a slam singles final in the open era, and is known as the ‘minister of happiness’ in her home country for her sunny demeanour and the pride she has engendered.

Lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish would be a hugely significant moment for her home region and Jabeur is buoyed by the support.

“The good thing about those people, they always tell me, ‘Win or lose, we love you’,” she said. “That’s great words to hear. I always try to remember that, even though I know everybody wants me to win.

“For me, there is one goal: I’m going for it. I will prepare 100 per cent. Hopefully I can make history, not just for Tunisia, but for Africa.”

Vondrousova’s resurgence this season has come after she missed six months of 2022 following two operations on her left wrist.

The 24-year-old, who was dropped by clothing sponsor Nike, came to London last summer as a tourist, watching a friend play in qualifying before visiting the London Eye and going shopping.

This is the first time Vondrousova has come close to matching what she achieved at Roland Garros four years ago, when a semi-final victory over Britain’s Johanna Konta was followed by a one-sided loss to Ashleigh Barty.

Like Jabeur, she has done things the hard way here, beating four seeded players before seeing off crowd favourite Elina Svitolina in the last four.

 

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She is aiming to become the first unseeded women’s champion at Wimbledon and believes her previous final experience will come into play, saying: “I think it can definitely help in tough moments.

“I was very young, so I think it was just too much for me back then. I’m a bit older now. I think I’m a bit of a different person. I’m just very happy to be through this again.”

Vondrousova, who will break into the top 10 for the first time if she claims the title, can also draw on the remarkable success of female players from her country.

Fellow left-hander Petra Kvitova was the last Czech winner of Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 but since then Lucie Safarova, Karolina Pliskova, Barbora Krejcikova and Karolina Muchova have also reached slam finals.

Ons Jabeur believes her new-found patience helped propel her into another Wimbledon final.

The Tunisian sixth seed, last year’s runner-up, came from a set down to beat Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-3 on Centre Court.

Sabalenka, banned from Wimbledon last year over the role of Belarus in the war in Ukraine, was a point from going a set and 5-3 up.

But Jabeur’s rousing comeback spared Wimbledon chiefs the uncomfortable situation of the Princess of Wales handing a trophy to, and shaking hands with, a player from Russia’s allied nation Belarus in the women’s final.

Instead of a politically-charged clash between Sabalenka and Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, Centre Court will host Jabeur against Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday.

Jabeur was devastated after losing to Elena Rybakina in last year’s final, but believes she is a different player 12 months on.

“Maybe the old me would have lost that match today,” she said. “Probably 12 months ago, for sure. Maybe also a little bit before, like six months ago. It’s a different player.

“I’m working on myself like crazy. You have no idea what I’m doing. Every time there is something, I’m very tough with myself, try to improve everything. Very impatient sometimes, which is not good.

“Maybe my injuries slowed me down and teach me to be patient and accept what’s going on.”

A set and a break down, Jabeur came out fighting on the Sabalenka serve and it finally paid off.

“I was like, honestly, I’m not going to give a s***, I’m just going to go in and hit my return,” she added.

“Yeah, it was coming. I was returning much better. She missed some shots that did help me stay in the game. I was fighting every point. We just wait for a little bit of chance sometime to get the game, and that’s what happened.”

Sabalenka has reached four consecutive semi-finals but only won one of them, when she took the Australian Open title earlier this year.

“I didn’t play my best tennis today. It was just, like, a combo of everything. A little bit of nerves, a little bit of luck for her at some points,” she said.

“I mean, she just played really well. She played unbelievable tennis. In those key moments, she got a little bit more lucky, and I didn’t play the way I was supposed to play.”

Victory would have elevated Sabalenka above Iga Swiatek to become world number one.

“I wouldn’t say that I was thinking about that. I mean, for me it’s more about how you finish the year than during the year you’re first, second, you just go back and forth,” she added.

“For me it’s more about the finish to the year. I’ll keep pushing myself and do everything I can to finish this year as world number one.”

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