The result was a huge shock. Unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova stunned Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-4 to win the Wimbledon women’s singles final on Saturday.
There have been a string of surprise Grand Slam winners in a period of flux for the women’s game but Wimbledon had been the exception until now, with Vondrousova taking advantage of a nervous performance from the Tunisian to claim a stunning victory.
Vondrousova climbed up the stands Pat Cash-style to hug her team in the players’ box, while Jabeur sat disconsolately, weeping in her chair.
She said: “I don’t know what’s happening now. Ons, congratulations, you’re such an inspiration for all of us, I hope you are going to win one day.
“After everything I’ve been through – I had a cast on this time last year – and now I can’t believe I’m holding this trophy.”
Vondrousova’s husband Stepan, who has been at home looking after their pet cat for the last two weeks, managed to make it for the final and a double celebration.
In a topsy-turvy opening set Jabeur, the sixth seed, led by a break of serve at 4-2 but was immediately broken to love by the Czech world No 42.
A bad miss from the Tunisian gave Vondrousova two more break points and another unforced error put the underdog 5-4 ahead.
Vondrousova comfortably served out to love, making just six unforced errors in a 40-minute opening set.
Jabeur’s collapse continued at the start of the second set, handing Vondrousova the initiative by dropping serve in the first game.
She fought back by winning three successive games but, just as she had in the first set, Vondrousova proved too strong towards the end.
She produced a nervy display under the Centre Court roof, however, and Vondrousova, who had wrist surgery last year and missed the tournament, stayed cool to claim the title to become the first unseeded woman to win the title.
Marketa Vondrousova is the 59th women’s singles Grand Slam winner and the 24th in Wimbledon and picks up the winner’s cheque for around £2.5 million..
She is the 16th different woman to win a major since 2017.
Injuries had prevented her building on that, and she came to London as a tourist last summer during Wimbledon with her wrist in a cast after two operations.
Marketa Vondrousova is the lowest ranked player (42) to win the women’s singles title in Wimbledon since the WTA Rankings were introduced.
Just eight months ago, she was ranked outside the top 100 and winning a title in the rather less glamorous surroundings of The Shrewsbury Club in Shropshire.
Vondrousova adds her name to the storied list of Czech Grand Slam champions including Jana Novotna, Petra Kvitova, Barbora Krejcikova, and Marketa Vondrousova.
The Tunisian, last year’s losing finalist as well, broke down in tears after receiving her runners-up trophy from the Princess of Wales.
“This is very tough. It’s the most painful loss of my career,” she said.
“Congratulations to Marketa and her team. You are an amazing player, I know you had a lot of injuries and I’m very happy for you.
“It’s going to be a tough day for me today [Saturday] but I’m not going to give up. I’m going to come back stronger.”
Jabeur thanked the crowd for their support and then added: “I promise I’ll come back one day and win this tournament.”