Ons Jabeur expressed her emotions and announced that she would be donating a portion of her WTA Finals prize money to aid Palestinians following her first victory at the Cancun tournament.
The ex-world number 2 from Tunisia sought to redeem herself after losing in the Wimbledon final to Markéta Vondroušová. She achieved this with a 6-4, 6-3 victory and managed to make a comeback in the semi-final race after being defeated by Coco Gauff on Monday.
During the interview after the match, she struggled to hold back tears as she discussed the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
“I am pleased with the victory, but I have not been feeling happy recently due to the current state of the world,” expressed the three-time grand slam finalist. “Therefore, I apologize,” Jabeur added, taking a brief pause to collect herself.
“It is extremely difficult to witness the daily deaths of children and babies. It is heart-wrenching. I have made the decision to donate a portion of my prize money to aid the Palestinians. I cannot find joy in this victory.”
She clarified, “This is not a message about politics, but about humanity.” She expressed her desire for peace in the world and nothing more.
A 29-year-old athlete will compete against group leader Iga Swiatek in the final group round of the WTA Finals, aiming to secure a spot in the top four for the first time in her professional career. She was previously eliminated in the group stage in 2022.
Swiatek beat an out-of-sorts Coco Gauff 6-0, 6-4 in windy conditions in Cancun, as the race to the semis was blown wide open.
In their group stage game, Swiatek started strong and managed to break the US Open champion for a second time with a beautiful crosscourt shot, giving her a 4-0 advantage. A few games later, the second-seeded Pole capitalized on a weak drop shot from her American opponent and hit a powerful backhand to win the first set easily.
Gauff elevated her performance in the beginning of the second set, securing three consecutive games and taking the lead at 3-1. She also emerged victorious after a lengthy service game at 4-2. However, the experienced four-time major winner refused to give in, easily holding her serve and then capitalizing on Gauff’s error-prone forehand to break back and tie the score at 4-4.
After that, Gauff started to fall apart. She slammed her racket onto the court in frustration after making four consecutive double faults while trying to win the set at 5-4. In the following game, she almost cried and missed returning a serve, resulting in a love hold.
Swiatek extended her overall record to 9-1 against Gauff after the third seed’s overhead shot hit the net, resulting in her 31st unforced error of the match.
In the evening group stage game, the sixth seeded Jabeur defeated the grand slam champion Vondroušová in straight sets, in a rematch of the Wimbledon final.
The initial set began with a close competition as both players were tied at 2-2. However, Jabeur gained the upper hand by breaking Vondroušová’s serve and shifting the momentum in her direction.
Jabeur needed less than an hour to secure the first set and approximately half that time to claim the second, breaking her three-match losing streak against Vondroušová with a dominant win.
Jabeur achieved their first victory in the group, following their defeat to Gauff on Monday. This puts both players at a record of one win each, while Swiatek remains in the lead with two wins. Vondrousova is currently at the bottom with two losses, however, all four players in the group still have a chance to advance to the semi-finals.