That’s a wrap for the women’s singles at 2022 Wimbledon Championships. Elena Rybakina won her first Slam title, becoming the first player since Amelie Mauresmo in 2006 to come from a set down to triumph in the Wimbledon final. In Saturday’s final, Rybakina beat Ons Jabeur, 3-6 6-2 6-2. Read on for the final post on the blog from Wimby 2022!
Final recap 🏆
Considering it was their first Slam final and taking into account the nerves and anticipation that both players must have been feeling, I thought this was an excellent final. On the surface, Jabeur looked the edgier of the pair. They showed Ons hugging her team before the match and it felt really emotional! I was kind of surprised how well Jabeur played in the first set. Jabeur had been averaging 59% of first serves in play at this tournament. In the first set of the final, Jabeur landed 75% (!) of first serves in. That was the difference in the opening set as Jabeur lost just four points on serve and Rybakina had very few looks at second serves. Jabeur landed a lot of returns in play and her slice forced errors from Rybakina with a raft of them coming at the end of the set.
This match reminded me a little of Rybakina’s quarter-final match against Tomljanovic where she came up against an inspired opponent in the first set and then turned it around in the final two sets, dominating by the end. There were two key games in the second and third sets that Rybakina won which ultimately decided the course of this match. Rybakina held serve at *2-1 in the second set, saving three break points in a five deuce game. Rybakina then dug out of a *0-40 hole at *3-2 in the final set, winning five straight points. Not quite as winner-flashy but definitely some Kenin AO vibes.
Jabeur’s slice had been so effective in the first set but it felt like she backed off from that tactic in the second set. Rybakina began to read the Jabeur drop shot better and actually started to come forward of her own accord. Jabeur seemed almost surprised by the tactic and looked rushed in coming up with a response. Jabeur’s groundstrokes were generally landing shorter in the final two sets which allowed Rybakina to increasingly dictate with her crushing groundstrokes.
Rybakina served out the match to 30 to claim her first Slam title! There was a bit of help from Ons who did fall away at the end and didn’t really make Rybakina play in that last game. It was an iconic Wimbledon celebration in that Rybakina’s reaction was characteristically muted. At first, I was disappointed as it all felt rather subdued at the end. On reflection, I regret feeling like that and appreciated that it was just a different reaction to what we are used to, and represents how Elena is. In fact, the emotion seemed to hit Rybakina later in the press conference (see below).
Like I wrote in my last post, Rybakina was one of those players that I couldn’t envisage having a run like this until it actually happened. She always had the potential with her game but I still questioned the mental side and wasn’t there yet in believing that Rybakina could close out big matches after what happened at the Olympics. Nearly one year on and that is completely in the past. Rybakina closed out her semi-final and final today so impressively 👏.
I am surprised that Rybakina’s win has come now as there wasn’t much to suggest in the weeks running up to Wimbledon that this was on the cards. Rybakina lost early in both ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Eastbourne. I’d watched Rybakina practising with coach, Stefano Vukov in Eastbourne. I actually came away from Eastbourne thinking that the Rybakina-Vukov partnership was on shaky ground and I had decided that Rybakina was not on my radar at all for Wimbledon! Just classic 😂. I would never have imagined a few weeks later that Rybakina would be lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish!!! 🙃
Super snap 📸
Press highlights 📰
I was ready to have the tissues at the ready for Ons’s press conference but there was none of that at all. I was so pleased to see her genuinely taking the positives away from the two weeks. She’s an inspiration. Ons showed the journalists that she had the Venus Rosewater Dish as the lock screen on her phone!
At the time of writing, still waiting for the full Rybakina press conference. Wimbledon have posted one clip where Rybakina got emotional when asked about her parents. She comes out with a great line talking about the emotion. Very self aware. A lovely moment.
Recommended media 📺
Great interviews with both players on the court. You could feel the tears at the surface for Ons but she just about kept it together. Lovely words from Elena towards Ons.
Final thoughts 🤔
It’s been a fun ride since the French Open. So much tennis and always one of my favourite times of the year. The first Monday after Wimbledon is always a struggle with this overwhelming feeling of flatness and i’m already dreading it! I wouldn’t say it was a particularly memorable Wimbledon looking back. I kept getting my hopes up for results and certain match-ups, and they just kept falling flat. A truly terrible tournament of predictions too!
I’m happy that I managed to complete the set of posts from first Monday to second Saturday. It was a bit of a chore at times, often overwhelming, and that’s all feelings I put on myself. If I do something, I always have to go all in. More and more i’m asking myself why I am doing this? Yeah, definitely a lot of self-reflection for me this year. In summary, i’m thinking it’s probably my last year of daily posts and previews for Wimbledon.
Time for a break. I don’t know when/if i’ll be back on the blog. So to anyone reading this – thank youuu and take care! 😘