Brilliant Jabeur makes history with first career title

The Tunisian became the first Arab woman ever to win a Tour title when she beat Daria Kasatkina in the Birmingham final

Good things come to those who wait and for Ons Jabeur, the wait was definitely worth it.

The Tunisian, who has been blazing a trail for her country and Arab tennis in general, finally won her first career title on Sunday, beating world No 35 Daria Kasatkina of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in the final of the Birmingham Classic.

The 24-year-old, who is the first woman from Tunisia and the first woman from North Africa ever to win a WTA Tour title, fell to her knees in celebration as she finally got over the line, winning the Birmingham title on her debut in the event.

“I’m so proud,” Jabeur said. “I struggled a lot, I’ve lost two finals and it’s been tough for me to win a WTA title. I was thinking this morning, am I tonight going to cry and be disappointed or am I going to be celebrating I knew I had to go for it. I hope this can inspire more Arabic and Tunisian players.”

Jabeur holds her nerve under pressure

It wasn’t easy – Jabeur led by a set and had a point for 5-0 only for Kasatkina to hit back, bringing back instant memories of their clash in the Kremlin Cup final in 2018, when Jabeur led by a set and 4-1 only to lose in three sets.

But this time, though Kasatkina fought back from 4-0 to 4-3, Jabeur held her nerve under increasing pressure at the end to clinch a breakthrough victory, a lucky net cord on a smash in the final game helping her before Kasatkina found the net with her final forehand.

“Last time we played in Moscow, I was crying, it was a great battle,” Jabeur said. “I told her can you please share some titles with me, let me win my first WTA. It was a tough final. I knew it was not going to be easy.

Kasatkina said she’d enjoyed a superb week.

“It has been a pleasure to play here again and start the grasscourt season and to get to the final, it’s been a great week,” the Russian said.

“I’m really happy for you Ons, you really deserved this trophy, I know how much you wanted it, how much you were looking for it. Enjoy this moment, it’s really special.”

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