That’s a wrap for Madrid. In arguably the biggest match of their respective careers, Ons Jabeur defeated Jessica Pegula in Saturday’s final, 7-5 0-6 6-2. The end of the tournament was rather overtaken by the frankly appalling scheduling in Madrid. A semi-final starting gone 11pm and a final with not before time. Alcaraz-Djokovic was fantastic to watch but this shouldn’t be happening. It’s the same old siht. Read on for a final round-up from Madrid…
This didn’t really feel like a final which I think was down to the circumstances. I’m guessing it was a completely new crowd for the women’s final after Alcaraz-Djokovic as the entire stadium emptied. There was a small crowd when the match began and it was a weird atmosphere, not befitting of one of the biggest finals of the season. I suppose Jabeur and Pegula were warming up towards the end of the second set of Alcaraz-Djokovic so it must have been a lot of waiting around.
Somewhat surprisingly, it was a decent start to the final and the only time when both players were playing well at the same time. Pegula saved break points in her opening two service games and was playing super aggressive. Everything was going in as Pegula raced into a 4-1 lead. The winners though soon turned to errors and Pegula then retreated. Pegula did have a set point at 5-4 in that opener, which was expertly saved by Jabeur. Things just started to click for Jabeur at the end of the first set as the drop shot started to work its magic. Jabeur 7-5 first set.
Jabeur had break points at the start of the second set. Just like the first set, Jabeur didn’t convert them and then fell away in pretty dramatic fashion. Jabeur looked utterly miserable out on court. Pegula didn’t have to do a lot and cruised through the second set. Pegula 6-0 second set.
For the third straight set, Jabeur had break points in Pegula’s opening service game. And this time converted! Admittedly Jabeur was broken straight back but I still think it was important as Jabeur was ahead for the entire third set. The level wasn’t great from either. The final two sets were sooo flat. As well as the waiting around before the match, there was clearly a lot of nerves too and that’s completely understandable because this was such a big opportunity for both players.
Jabeur was clearly still frustrated in that third set and looked like she was going to throw up at one point (she spoke about the stress in her press conference). Jabeur held her game together better than Pegula and actually served it out impressively. The first few points in the final game at *5-2 were passive but then she stepped it up and there were no dramas in the end.
Thrilled for Ons. You can understand the nerves and what must have been going through her head in that match. Ons was 1-4 in WTA level finals and all four of those losses had come in three sets. It wasn’t pretty but she got the W, the trophy, and hopefully this goes a long way to making Ons believe that she can do it.
Pegula had a great run. She didn’t play well in the final but it doesn’t distract from the week as a whole. Both Pegula and Jabeur have proven that last year was no flash in the pan and they are here to stay. For Pegula, surely cracking the top ten is just around the corner. I’m hoping Jabeur can translate this title into a deeper run at a Slam.
Overall, a pretty lacklustre second half to the tournament, not helped by a scheduling. A great result though. Everyone loves Ons ❤. Onwards to Rome…