Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur believes the lessons she learned in two Grand Slam final defeats will stand her in good stead for tomorrow’s Wimbledon showdown with unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova.
Jabeur showed incredible endurance yesterday to absorb the brutal power of second seed Aryna Sabalenka to claim a 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 victory after trailing by a set and 4-2.
She is now back in a position she found herself in at last year’s Wimbledon and the US Open, requiring one win to become the first African woman as well as first Arab to win a major.
“Last year was my first final of a Grand Slam. Definitely getting closer to winning the Grand Slam that I always wished,” north African trailblazer Jabeur, who had a photo of Wimbledon’s Venus Rosewater Dish on her phone last year but never got her hands on the real thing, told reporters
“I would say I always believed. But sometimes you would question and doubt if it’s going to happen, if it’s ever going to happen. I’m going to learn a lot from not only Wimbledon’s final but also the US Open final and give it my best.
“Maybe this year was all about trying two times and getting it right the third time.”
The 28-year-old sixth seed has lost twice this year to left-handed Vondrousova, who was French Open runner-up in 2019, and said she wanted revenge on Saturday after working “like crazy” to improve.
“I didn’t win against her this year. She has good hands. She plays very good,” Jabeur said. “Honestly, I will try to focus on myself a lot. I’m not sure how she’s going to play her second Grand Slam final. We’re both hungry to win.”
Jabeur, who will have the Arab world rooting for her on Saturday, has certainly earned her place in the final.
She beat twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in round four, 2022 winner Elena Rybakina in the last eight and Australian Open champion Sabalenka in the semis.
“I think this year the draw is much tougher. Playing against amazing players that not only play good on any surface, but they play amazing on grass. That was very challenging,” she said.
“That gives me more confidence to be ready for the final. Also getting that rhythm of playing great tennis to be ready for the next match.”