JABEUR PASSES PEGULA TEST, EARNS FIRST WTA 1000 TITLE IN MADRID


Photograph: Getty Images

Ons Jabeur claimed the second title of her career on Saturday after the Tunisian rallied to defeat American Jessica Pegula 7-5, 0-6, 6-2 to win the Mutua Madrid Open.

Jabeur will now add the Madrid Open crown to her trophy cabinet alongside her silverware from Birmingham last year when she became the first Arab woman to win a WTA singles title.



World No. 10 Jabeur fended off a set point in the first to claim the early ascendancy before a second-set bagel looked to put her on the back foot.

The eighth seed certainly didn’t show it though and she broke in the first and third games of the decider to wrestle back the momentum that she would never again relinquish.



Prior to Saturday’s final, Jabeur and Pegula had faced off four times with the pair splitting those meetings for a 2-2 head-to-head record.


The pair had never previously met on clay with all four matches coming on hard courts, but Jabeur did carry momentum into this one having won the last two against the American.

The one hour and 54 minute victory improves Jabeur’s record in WTA singles finals to 2-4 after she fell short in a marathon three-setter to Belinda Bencic in Charleston last month.

Fittingly, Jabeur defeated Bencic in another tight three-setter on her way to the crown in Madrid.

"I'm so happy that I didn't wait long [for a title], because I was really disappointed after Charleston and Stuttgart," Jabeur said.

"But I have been doing a lot of hard work to see that it's paying off. I cannot describe how I feel right now."

The 27-year-old’s run in Madrid increases her number of clay-court victories to 12 on the season – the most of any player on tour.



Jabeur will return to her career-high ranking of world No. 7 from Monday while Pegula, who is one year the Tunisian’s senior, will reach a new career peak at world No. 11.