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Elena Rybakina comes from behind to lift Wimbledon trophy for first Slam

Russian-born Elena Rybakina has powered back from a set down against Ons Jabeur to win the Wimbledon title, denying the Tunisian world number two the chance to make African tennis history.

Jabeur raced out of the blocks but the 17th seed regrouped and dropped just four more games on the way to a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Russian and Belarusian players were banned from Wimbledon this year in light of the Ukraine conflict, but Moscow-born Rybakina switched her allegiance to Kazakhstan in 2018.

The 23-year-old, who had never previously progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, said she had been “super nervous” before and during the match on a sun-baked Centre Court.

“I did not expect to be in the second week of a Grand Slam at Wimbledon,” Rybakina, who stands six feet (1.84 metres) tall, said. “To be a winner is just amazing. I don’t have the words to say how happy I am.”

She added: “I want to congratulate Ons for a great match….You have an amazing game. We don’t have someone like this on tour and it is a joy to play against you. I ran so much, I don’t think I need to do fitness (work) anymore.”

READ MORE: Wimbledon: Ons Jabeur is first Arab, African woman to reach major final

‘She deserved this’

Jabeur, 27, the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final, was attempting to become the first African woman to win a major.

“First of all I want to congratulate Elena and her team — great job and she deserved this and hopefully next time it will be mine,” said the third seed.

“I love this tournament so much and I feel really sad, but I’m trying to inspire many generations from my country. I hope they are listening,” said the Tunisian, who was left to rue nine missed break points over the course of the match.

On Sunday, Novak Djokovic goes for a seventh men’s title when he faces unpredictable Nick Kyrgios of Australia. That would put him level with Pete Sampras and just one behind Roger Federer’s record of eight.

READ MORE: Djokovic beats Norrie, to face Kyrgios in Wimbledon final

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