Tunisian Ons Jabeur, champion of Madrid


African women’s tennis has another champion: the Tunisian Ons Jabeur took the final in Madrid after surviving a blackout in the second set and beating the American Jessica Pegula by 7-5, 0-6 and 6-2.

Twenty -four years after South Africa amanda coetzer win the title of Charleston -at that time in the Tier I category, equivalent to the current WTA 1,000-, an African player re-registered his name in a tournament of this entity, the most important after four Grand Slams.

Jabeur was the first tennis player in Tunisia and the first Arab player, male or female, to enter the top ten in the world. Eighth finalist in Miami, finalist in Charleston and quarterfinalist in Stuttgart, the Tunisian has extended his momentum in Madrid and on Monday he will emerge in seventh place in the world rankings.

Despite investigating the tournament’s top seeds in previous rounds, the final offers high-quality tennis, where the 10th and 14th players in the world engage in attacking games and quick change.

True to the style shown since he started in Madrid, Pegula often goes to the net once he is given a chance of his serve or Jabeur’s return. But he found a good passer and he had to slow down his momentum and try deeper shots.

The American scored the first break, 3-1, which he eventually combined. Then he lost his next serve and the fight started again.

After the recital of drop shots signed by Carlos Alcaraz in his battles against Novak Djokovicfinished a few minutes earlier on the same track, Jabeur put up his particular showing against Pegula and took full advantage of one of his best shots.

At 5-4, a poor serve game by the Tunisian nearly exhausted his set. With three withering attacks he restored parity and the momentum of the mini-comeback gave him to break the Pegula blank and close the set to his service.

The weight of the game was carried by Jabeur, as well as on mistakes. He suddenly loses touch with dropshots and so on and Pegula writes the scores first and then the games. Too many put 6-0 on the scoreboard. Learned the lesson of the initial manga, this time it is forbidden to eat the earth. A failed drop of Jabeur condemned him to the ‘donut’.

With 27 years Jabeur and 28 Pegulaboth in the best moments of their long careers, no one was afraid to hope to play for the title in the third set.

The Tunisian cut his rival’s streak with a break to start. But he gave up his next serving and broke again the next. The game was broken, although the advantage was for Jabeur and enough for him to keep it up.

Pegula tried to rush the punches into the corridor, but his opponent hit everyone. A new ‘break’ gave him an almost certain 5-2. It was, with Jabeur already inspired by the closeness of the title. An hour and 54 minutes passed.

Initially scheduled for mid-afternoon, which is between the two men’s semifinals, the women’s final went into prime time thanks to the duration, three and a half hours, of Alcaraz-Djokovic.

Jabeur was the first Arab woman to play in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. in Australia in 2020and the first WTA title winner, in Birmingham in 2021. It is alone until now in Madrid.

On her way to the final, she defeated three players where she had a negative balance: the Swiss Belinda Bencic (11), the Romanian Simona Halep and the Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova. In Pegula he was tied for two wins.

In Jabeur, Africa returned to the list of top tournaments, which between 1990 and 2008 were called Tier I; from 2009 to 2020 they were named Premier Mandatory or Premier 5 and from 2021 they were called WTA 1,000.

In 1998, Amanda Coetzer defeated Romanian Irina Spirlea 6-3, 6-4 in the Charleston final.. Coetzer. The South African spent a decade in the top ten players in the world, becoming number 3 in November 1997 and winning nine singles and nine doubles titles in his career.

Because of him, no African player has achieved a title of importance that Jabeur has now won.

The Tunisian defeated Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the tournament winners in Madrid. Before the 2020 break due to the pandemic, in 2019 the Dutch Kiki Bertens won, in 2018 the Czech Petra Kvitova and in 2017 and 2016 the Romanian Simona Halep.

Kvitova holds the record for wins, three, in 2011, 2015 and 2018.

Source: La Verdad


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