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It seemed to be written in the stars that Ons Jabeur would win the 2023 Wimbledon Championships. The number 6 seed defeated two previous champions en route to the final, not to mention that she avenged the finals loss from Wimbledon 2022. Additionally, she took out the number 2 in the world in the semi-finals, managing to defeat Sabalenka in three sets. And this time around, she was facing an unseeded player in the final, which was unfamiliar territory for Jabeur.
I say this because, in the final last year, she was not the favourite to win. Adding to that, she wasn’t the favourite in the other Grand Slam final that she has competed in either, which was the US Open final in 2022. Of course, this means that following her defeat at the hands of Vondrousova yesterday, she has now lost all three Grand Slam finals that she has played in. This is obviously not how she wanted things to go down, and unfortunately, the pressure of winning a Grand Slam will now increase even more.
However, concerning the final itself, with Jabeur being such a favourite, one has to wonder – just where did it all fall apart for Ons Jabeur when she faced Marketa Vondrousova? Well, I’ve broken down the match and discussed several elements right here.
Ons Jabeur’s Wimbledon Dreams Shattered for the Second Year Running – Where She Lost the Match
Although I’m about to take you through the various elements that cost Jabeur in the final yesterday, I feel it’s important to stress that these all resulted from one thing. That ‘thing’ is the fact that Jabeur just didn’t deal with the stress and expectations well enough to perform at a level that would lead her to the trophy. Although this fact will hurt Jabeur and her fans, this is the reality, and it was almost sad to watch at times as the Tunisian seemed to buckle under the pressure.
On a more positive note, Jabeur is a true warrior, and she is adored by fans around the world. I feel that due to this, and her relentless positivity, she will definitely be back for another bite of the cherry in the Wimbledon final. Anyway, I’ve promised to highlight where Jabeur lost the Wimbledon women’s singles final yesterday, so let me get started.
Inability to Pull Away From Vondrousova
Having watched the match, this was absolutely profound for me concerning the subsequent outcome of the final. Let’s take things back to the first set for starters. Jabeur got off to a quick start, taking a 2-0 lead, and finding herself 40-15 up on her own serve. If she had taken either of those points or simply managed to win the game, she would have been 3-0 up. Not only would this have allowed her to put more daylight between herself and Vondrousova on the scoreboard, but it would have prevented Vondrousova from settling in too.
After that, Jabeur then led 3-1 in the second set, finding herself up a break yet again. Yet once more, she played a poor game to let her opponent back into the set. And these moments defined the outcome of the game, in my opinion.
Unacceptable Number of Unforced Errors
While her inability to put any scoreboard pressure on Vondrousova was a major element that cost her the win, there was something even more critical. As you can see, the unforced error count from Jabeur’s racket was just unacceptable for a Wimbledon final. Amazingly, Jabeur racked up a grand total of 32 unforced errors in just two sets of tennis to essentially gift her opponent the victory.
If you break this down into a set average, that would be 16 per set. Subsequently, Vondrousova only had to figure out how to win 8 more points in each set to take it. Of course, these numbers are to give perspective, and they are not 100% accurate in terms of the set-by-set unforced error count or the number of points played in each set. But such figures certainly paint a picture of how the match played out.
The third and final element that cost Jabeur massively yesterday was the way she served. Generally speaking, a first-serve percentage of more than 60% is decent in professional tennis, and if you get into the 70% or even 80% region, you’re serving great. However, Ons Jabeur served at just 48% – making 29/60 first serves in the match. This allowed Vondrousova to attack the second serve of Jabeur, and it also meant that Jabeur lost her serve a total of 6 times in the match.
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