Markéta Vondroušová has made history as the first unseeded player to win the ladies singles championship at Wimbledon in a stunning 6-4, 6-4 upset over the No. 6 seed Ons Jabeur, who is the runner-up for a second straight year. The 24-year-old lefty joins two other Czech-born left-handers — Martina Navratilova and Petra Kvitová — to take home the Wimbledon title.
Jabeur opened the match strong, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first set, and was able to fight through some shaky service games to take a 4-2 lead, but the tide turned when Vondroušová held at love to get it to 3-4, and then ripped off five games in a row to take the first set and open the first game of the second.
Vondroušová rode a steady performance to her first Grand Slam singles title in her second career major final. She was efficient, winning 6 of 7 break points in the match and making only 13 unforced errors. Her resolve on the big stage was perhaps as surprising as her run to the final. In addition to this being her first Grand Slam victory, its just her second WTA win after winning a lower-level event in 2017.
The Wimbledon champion will jump from No. 42 in the WTA rankings to No. 10 in the world with the win. She has shown a flash of this level of tennis in the past — reaching the French Open final in 2019, also as an unseeded player — but the injury bug had bitten her in recent years, including a wrist injury that had her in a cast and as a spectator at Wimbledon in 2022.
“The comebacks aren’t easy. … You never know what to expect and after the second one I was playing the small tournaments and I was hoping I could come back at this level, and now this is happening.” Vondroušová said after collecting the Venus Rosewater Dish, and referring to the second round of wrist surgeries that cost her much of the 2022 season.
For Jabeur, it’s another bitter pill to swallow at the end of an amazing run at Wimbledon. On her way to the finals, Jabeur beat four Grand Slam champions, including avenging her loss in the 2022 Wimbledon finals against Elena Rybakina. She’d come back from down a set and a break on three different occasions in this fortnight, and is now 0-3 in major finals, having lost three of the past five Grand Slam finals played.
“I think this is the most painful loss of my career,” Jabeur said through tears on the court after the loss. “It’s been a tough journey, but that’s tennis, and I promise I’ll come back one day and win this tournament.”
Next up on the Grand Slam calendar is the US Open, where world No.1 Iga Swiatek is the defending champion — Jabeur was the runner-up in New York last year — which runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 4 in New York.