Elena Rybakina beat Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the Wimbledon final on Saturday to become the first tennis player from Kazakhstan to win a Grand Slam singles championship.
Rybakina is a 23-year-old who was born in Moscow and has represented Kazakhstan since 2018, when that country offered her funding to support her tennis career. The switch has been a topic of conversation during Wimbledon, because the All England Club barred all players who represent Russia or Belarus from entering the tournament due to the war in Ukraine.
Rybakina is ranked No. 23. Since the WTA computer rankings began in 1975, just one woman ranked lower than Rybakina won Wimbledon — Venus Williams in 2007 at No. 31, although she had been No. 1 and already won three of her five career Wimbledon trophies.
This was the first women’s title match since 1962 at Wimbledon between two players who were making their debuts in a major final.
Rybakina used her big serve and powerful forehand to overcome Jabeur’s mix of spins and slices at Centre Court. Rybakina ended the No. 2-ranked Jabeur’s 12-match winning streak, which came entirely on grass courts.
Rybakina showed off her best strokes right away: a big serve — she leads the tour in aces in 2022 by a wide margin — and flat forehand. There were glimpses of both in the opening game, including a 119 mph service winner on the match’s initial point.