Wimbledon: Ons Jabeur overcame a set and a break down to defeat Aryna Sabalenka and go to the Wimbledon final for the second year in a succession, where she will play Marketa Vondrousova.
Jabeur, who finished second to Elena Rybakina in 2022, won 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3 to complete a stunning comeback and put an end to Sabalenka’s ambitions of becoming the new world No. 1.
On Saturday, instead of a politically fraught match between Sabalenka and Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, Centre Court will showcase Jabeur vs. Vondrousova.
The 2023 Ladies' Singles final is set.#Wimbledon
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2023
Jabeur was devastated after losing to Elina Rybakina in last year’s final, but she believes she has grown as a player in the year afterwards.
“I’m working a lot with my mental coach, who’s been really helpful,” she continued, “and I’m thinking about writing a book about it.”
“I’m very proud of myself; the old me might have lost that match, but I’m glad I kept digging deep and finding the strength to keep going.
“I’m learning how to transform negative energy into positive energy. I just tried to stay focused after the first set’s wrath. I’m going to embrace it and fight hard to win this match and, perhaps, the tournament.”
Sabalenka took the first set tie-break when Jabeur crashed a backhand into the net and then fired a forehand long.
She appeared to be about to submit at 2-2 in the second, but a double fault placed Sabalenka in command.
But the Belarussian tightened up dreadfully, and a double-fault handed Jabeur break point, which she converted to tie the game at 4-4.
With the Centre Court crowd cheering her on, Jabeur avoided a break point by remaining in a ludicrous rally until Sabalenka smacked a forehand wide, and then levelled the match with an unstoppable return on the baseline.
The 28-year-old poured pressure on Sabalenka’s serve and won a tense game with a third break point to lead the decisive 4-2.
Will it be her year?
— wta (@WTA) July 13, 2023
Sabalenka survived two match points on serve, but Jabeur completed the job with an ace and raised her arms in delight.
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