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Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur celebrates with the trophy after winning against US Jessica Pegula during the 2022 WTA Tour Madrid Open tennis tournament women’s singles final match at the Caja Magica in Madrid. Photo: AFP
Ons Jabeur claimed the biggest title of her career, becoming the first Arab or African player to win a WTA 1000 title thanks to a 7-5, 0-6, 6-2 success over American Jessica Pegula on Saturday in Madrid.
The Tunisian trailblazer picked up her second WTA trophy and is set to return to her career-high ranking of number seven in the world on Monday.
Jabeur, who is the first Arab player –- man or woman -– to crack the top 10, owns a tour-leading 12 victories on clay so far this season and picked up a 20 win overall in 2022.
Pegula had to save four break points in her opening two service games before she upped the pressure on the Jabeur serve to break for 3-1.
The Tunisian struck back in game seven, finding her range on the return and was soon on level terms with Pegula.
Jabeur faced a set point in an error-strewn 10th game but weathered the storm to hold then broke Pegula to love using a signature drop shot return. The world number 10 closed out the set on the 54-minute mark.
Pegula was in trouble at the start of the second set, but she swatted away three break points and it was her turn to attack as she swept the next six games in under 30 minutes.
The first three games of the decider went against serve until Jabeur finally consolidated a break to inch ahead 3-1. The 27-year-old doubled her advantage and fell to her knees when she wrapped up a milestone victory.
Jabeur improved to 2-4 in WTA finals and to 3-2 head-to-head against Pegula.
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