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Marketa Vondrousova wins Wimbledon for 1st Grand Slam tennis title

Marketa Vondrousova became the lowest-ranked and first unseeded woman to win Wimbledon, defeating 2022 runner-up Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday in London.

Czech athlete 1st unseeded finalist at tourney since Billie Jean King in 1963

Female athlete plays a forehand shot during the Wimbledon women's final.

Marketa Vondrousova came to the All England Club a year ago unable to play tennis at all. She had a cast on her surgically repaired left wrist, so her visit was limited to sightseeing around London with her sister and cheering for a friend who was competing at Wimbledon.

This trip was a lot more memorable: She is leaving as a Grand Slam champion.

Vondrousova became the first unseeded woman to win Wimbledon on Saturday, coming back in each set for a 6-4, 6-4 victory over 2022 runner-up Ons Jabeur in the final.

"When I was coming back, I didn't know what's going to happen, if I can play at that level again," said Vondrousova, a 24-year-old left-hander from the Czech Republic who was the runner-up at the 2019 French Open on clay as a teenager and a silver medallist at the Tokyo Olympics on hard courts two years ago. "On grass, I didn't play well before. I think it was the most impossible Grand Slam for me to win, so I didn't even think of it. When we came, I was just like, 'Try to win a couple of matches.' Now this happened. It's crazy."

After being sidelined from April to October, she finished last season ranked just 99th. She arrived at Wimbledon 42nd and was the first unseeded woman to reach the final at the All England Club since Billie Jean King in 1963, who was seated in the front row of the Royal Box on Saturday alongside Kate, the Princess of Wales.

Following the match, King greeted Vondrousova with a hug and told her: "First unseeded ever. I love it."

WATCH | Vondrousova victorious 7 times in Wimbledon title run:

Unseeded Marketa Vondrousova surprises at Wimbledon with a women's championship

18 hours ago

Duration 3:25

Czechia's Marketa Vondrousova, who came to Wimbledon unseeded, defeats Tunisia's Ons Jabeur to win her first Wimbledon title in straight sets (6-4,6-4). Marketa Vondrousova becomes the sixth different Wimbledon champion in the past six years.

Centre Court's retractable roof was closed for the final, shielding everyone from the wind that topped 30 kilometres per hour outside, allowing Vondrousova's smooth strokes to repeatedly find the intended mark. She also liked that she didn't have to worry about any gusts or the sun or anything else while playing, a reminder of days practising at indoor courts during winters in Prague.

"I always play good indoors," Vondrousova said. "I was like, 'Yeah, maybe that's going to help me."'

On this afternoon, she trailed in each set but collected the last four games of the first, then the last three games of the second as Jabeur fell to 0-3 in major finals.

The 28-year-old from Tunisia is the only Arab woman and only North African woman to make it that far in singles at any Grand Slam tournament.

I think this is the most painful loss of my career.

— Ons Jabeur, who has a 0-3 record in major finals

"You cannot force things," the sixth-seeded Jabeur said. "It wasn't meant to be."

She lost to Elena Rybakina 12 months ago at the All England Club and to No. 1 Iga Swiatek at the U.S. Open last September.

"I think this is the most painful loss of my career," Jabeur said Saturday, pausing to wipe away tears.

Vondrousova's surge to her Slam title was hard to envision at the start of this fortnight.

She was 1-4 in previous appearances on Wimbledon's grass, only once making it as far as the second round, before going 7-0 on a run that included wins against five seeded foes.

One key was that Jabeur, who acknowledged feeling tension and pressure, kept making mistakes: She finished with 31 unforced errors; Vondrousova made merely 13.

That helped Vondrousova overcome deficits of 4-2 in the first set and 3-1 and 4-3 in the second. One she went ahead in each, the crowd's support for the popular Jabeur, nicknamed the Minister of Happiness for her demeanour on and off the court, would only rise, applause and shouts ricocheting off the cover atop the arena.

Staying steady down the stretch, Vondrousova broke to lead 5-4 and served for the match. She was soon up 40-love, and that's when the enormity of the moment hit her.

"I couldn't breathe," Vondrousova said. "I just was thinking to myself: 'Just be over."'

When she ended the match by reaching to put away a volley, she tumbled to the grass, then laid on her back and put her hands over her visor and face, the happiest she's ever been on the surface.

She climbed into the stands to share hugs with her husband, who had been home on cat-sitting duty until going to England to watch the final in person. Vondrousova joked that his tears of joy at match's end were the most emotion he's shown in the eight years they've been together; their first wedding anniversary is Sunday.

Vondrousova has other plans for her first full day as a major title winner, too: She and her coach agreed to get tattoos if she won the trophy.

Canada's Shaw finishes as runner-up in quad doubles

Canadian Rob Shaw secured his second straight second-place finish at a Grand Slam tournament in the Wimbledon quad doubles event on Saturday.

The top-ranked pair of Sam Schroder and Niels Vink of the Netherlands defeated Shaw and his Australian partner Heath Davidson 7-6 (5), 6-0 in the final.

Dutch defence 🏆<a href="https://twitter.com/SamWCTennis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SamWCTennis</a> and Niels Vink are Quad Wheelchair Doubles champions once again with a straight sets victory over Davidson/Shaw, 7-6(5), 6-0 👏<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> <a href="https://t.co/FjazA2Ne3B">pic.twitter.com/FjazA2Ne3B</a>

&mdash;@Wimbledon

Shaw and Davidson finished second at the French Open in June, losing the final to Great Britain's Andy Lapthorne and South Africa's Donald Ramphadi.

The North Bay, Ont., native was also defeated by Schroder and Vink in the 2022 U.S. Open final when playing with American partner David Wagner.

The 33-year-old Shaw will be looking to earn that elusive first Grand Slam title at the 2023 U.S. Open in September.

De Groot captures women's wheelchair final

Diede De Groot won her 11th consecutive Grand Slam title by beating doubles partner Jiske Griffioen 6-2, 6-1 Saturday in the women's wheelchair singles final at Wimbledon.

De Groot has won 19 major titles overall, including five at Wimbledon. Her current winning streak in Grand Slams dates to the 2021 Australian Open and she now has a chance to secure a third straight sweep of all four majors if she wins the U.S. Open in September.

Congratulations, Diede De Groot!<br><br>The Ladies' Wheelchair Singles champion for a fifth time after a straight sets victory over Jiske Griffioen! 👏🏆<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/DiedetheGreat?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DiedetheGreat</a> <a href="https://t.co/x6dPdYMH4y">pic.twitter.com/x6dPdYMH4y</a>

&mdash;@Wimbledon

That would also tie the record of 12 straight Grand Slam wins in wheelchair singles set by Shingo Kunieda between 2007-11.

The Dutchwoman also extended her tour-level winning streak to 111 straight matches, dating to the 2021 Melbourne Wheelchair Open.

De Groot could still collect more silverware at Wimbledon as she and Griffioen competed in the wheelchair doubles final.

Skupski, Koolhof men's doubles champs

Neal Skupski became the second British player in the Open era to win the men's doubles title at Wimbledon after teaming up with Wesley Koolhof to beat Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

It's a first Grand Slam title for both Skupski and Koolhof, who lost in last year's U.S. Open final.

"To hold this beauty is very, very special," said Koolhof, who is from the Netherlands, as he cradled the trophy on Centre Court.

The top-seeded pair only faced one break point in the final, which they saved, and broke for a decisive 3-2 lead in the second set.

Skupski joined Jonathan Marray as the only British players to win the men's doubles title at Wimbledon in the professional era, which began in 1968. Marray did so in 2012.

He is also the first British man to win both the mixed doubles and men's doubles at the All England Club since Leslie Godfree in 1926. Skupski has two mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon together with Desirae Krawczyk, in 2021 and 2022.

Granollers and Zeballos were playing in their third Grand Slam final as a pairing after losing the title match at the U.S. Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021.

With files from CBC Sports

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