Marketa Vondrousova collapsed on the court of the All England Club as soon as she beat Ons Jaber in the Wimbledon final. It was a moment of pure disbelief for the 24-year-old Czech unseeded after she defeated the No. 6 Tunisian.
Vondrousova, who watched Wimbledon as a spectator a year ago, pulled herself together and won both sets in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Jaber.
Things started well for Jaber, but the Tunisian’s seventeen unforced errors in the opening set allowed Vondrousova to overcome a 2-4 deficit and take the lead.
The momentum seemed to turn sharply in Zhaber’s favor during the second game of the second set, when he landed two sensational shots to take the score to 40-30: a winning backhand followed by a winning forehand.
Shortly thereafter, Jabeur took a three-set-to-one lead, but, as in the first set, Vondrousova again took control of the match.
Vondroušová won consecutive games to level with Zhaber, then again to 5-4 before the last game for the title. Finally, she came close to winning the final game, becoming the first unseeded player to win Wimbledon and the first Czech Wimbledon singles winner since Petra Kvitova in 2014.
“I don’t know what’s going on, it’s an amazing feeling,” Vondrousova said after the match. “After everything I’ve been through, it’s amazing, I can stand here and hold this. Tennis is crazy. it happens.”
As for Gills, she will again be a bridesmaid, but not a bride. The 28-year-old Tunisian looked underdog at times throughout the match due to too many unforced errors. And now for the fourth time in the last seven Grand Slam tournaments, Jabeur failed to win a title match.
She lost the Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2022 and most recently lost in the quarterfinals of the 2023 French Open. But Jabeur began to exorcise those demons throughout the tournament after defeating three top 10 opponents on her way to the final (the first since Serena Williams), which included a quarter-final victory over Elena Rybakina, who beat Jabeur at Wimbledon a year ago.
But this was not enough, and Jabeur did not try to hide her sadness after the loss. She didn’t shy away from hope either.
“I think this is the most painful loss of my career,” she said. “I promise that one day I will come back and win this tournament.”