Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur made history on Sunday when she turned into the first Arab woman to win a WTA title, beating Russian Daria Kasatkina in the final of the grasscourt event in Birmingham.
Jabeur, a trailblazer for North African ladies’ tennis, won 7-5 6-4 to at last guarantee a title in the wake of losing two past finals.
“I’m so proud. I’ve struggled a lot and it was tough for me to win a WTA title,” Jabeur told the crowd on the Ann Jones Centre Court. “I had to go for it. I had to win this title just to breathe out a little bit and also to be the example.
“There are not a lot of Arabic or Tunisian players playing and I hope this inspires them to go on and do more. I want to see more of them playing alongside me.”
Jabeur, known for her creative shot-making and a brand name dropshot, had lost to Kasatkina in the last in Moscow in 2018 however improved of the Russian this time.
“The last time I played Dasha I lost and I was crying. This morning I was thinking am I going to be crying and disappointed tonight or am I going to celebrate?,” second-seed Jabeur said.
Jabeur’s victory implies she has now won 28 matches on Tour this year – more than some other player separated from world number one Ash Barty who likewise has 28.