Viking Classic: Ons Jabeur etches history with 1st title in Birmingham

Ons Jabeur made history for Arab woman on Sunday when she won the Viking Classic. The Tunisian, the second seed in Birmingham, defeated fourth seed Daria Kasatkina 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 33 minutes, to win her first title on the WTA tour in her third final. In doing so, Jabeur also became the first woman from the region to win a title on the WTA.

Jabeur’s win over Kasatkina was also her first over the Russian, who’d won both their previous matches, including in the final of the 2018 Moscow Open. That was Jabeur’s first final on the WTA. In April this year, the 24th ranked Jabeur reached her second final on the Tour at the MUSC Health Women’s Open in Charleston (lost to Astra Sharma).

Viking Classic: Ons Jabeur leads the way for Arab tennis world

Speaking about her win, Jabeur recollected the final she’d lost to Kasatkina in the Russian capital. “Last time we played was in Moscow, she won, and I was crying, it was a great battle. I told her, ‘Can you please share some titles with me, at least, let me win my first WTA?’”

Then, she added, “You know Dasha, you have to win every point you have. I knew it was going to be difficult, but then when I lost my serve again, I just thought I’d continue focusing on breaking her again, just playing my game.”

Jabeur’s win made her the ninth player to win the maiden title of her career on the women’s tour this year. During the presentation ceremony at the Viking Classic, while reflecting on the title’s significance to other players of the Arab world, Ons Jabeur said, “I knew I had to go for it, I had to win this title to at least breathe, and give an example. There’s not a lot of Tunisian or Arabic players playing, so I hope this could inspire them, and I want to see more Arabic [players] and Tunisians playing with me on tour.”

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