BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Second-seeded Ons Jabeur became the first Arab woman to win a singles title on the elite women’s tennis tour with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina in the Viking Classic final on Sunday.
“I knew I had to go for it, I had to win this title to at least breathe, and give an example,” Jabeur said during the trophy presentation. “There’s not a lot of Tunisian or Arabic players playing, so I hope this could inspire them. I want to see more Arabic (players) and Tunisians playing with me on tour.”
It was also her first victory against Kasatkina. The fourth-seeded Russian, who was going for her third title this year, had won both previous contests against Jabeur, but they were not on grass.
The 24th-ranked Jabeur lost her two previous WTA singles finals — against Kasatkina in Moscow in 2018 and at Charleston earlier this season.
Jabeur has a tour-leading 28 wins this year, tied with top-ranked Ashleigh Barty.
Her best run at a Grand Slam tournament was into the quarterfinals at the 2020 Australian Open. On clay at the French Open earlier this month, she lost to Coco Gauff in the fourth round.
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