An emotional Ons Jabeur said she was donating part of her WTA Finals prize money to help Palestinians after her first win at the tournament in Cancun.
The Tunisian former world No 2 avenged her Wimbledon final loss to Markéta Vondroušová with a 6-4, 6-3 win, making a comeback in the semi-final race after Monday’s loss to Coco Gauff.
In the post match interview she fought back tears as she spoke about the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
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“I am very happy with the win but I haven’t been very happy lately. The situation in the world doesn’t make me happy,” the three-time grand slam finalist said. “So I feel like…I am sorry,” Jabeur said as she took a moment to regain composure.
“It’s very tough seeing children and babies dying every day. It’s heartbreaking. I have decided to donate part of my prize money to help the Palestinians. I can’t be happy with this win.
“It is not a political message, it is humanity,” she added. “I want peace in this world. That’s it.”
The 29 year-old will face group leader Iga Swiatek in the last group stage match as she tries to reach the top four of the WTA Finals for the first time in her career, after a group stage elimination 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.
Swiatek came out firing in their group stage match and broke the US Open champion for a second time with a lovely looping crosscourt winner to take a 4-0 lead. Two games later, the second-seeded Pole pounced on a poor drop shot from the American teenager and blasted a backhand past her to capture the one-sided first set.
Gauff raised her level early in the second, winning three straight games for a 3-1 advantage and coming out on top of a marathon service game 4-2. But the four-time major champion would not back down, holding at love and then breaking back on Gauff’s badly missed forehand into the net for 4-4.
From there Gauff began to unravel. She threw her racket against the court in frustration after four straight double faults while serving for the set at 5-4 and appeared on the verge of tears in the next game, where she whiffed on a return of serve en route to a love hold.
Swiatek improved her lifetime tally to 9-1 against Gauff when the third seed’s overhead landed in the net on match for her 31st unforced error of the contest.
The evening group stage match saw a rematch of the Wimbledon final as sixth seed Jabeur got back at the grand slam winner Vondroušová with a straight-set win.
The first set had a competitive start with both players locked 2-2, until Jabeur swung the momentum in her favour by breaking Vondroušová’s serve.
Jabeur took just short of an hour to win the first set and about half that to clinch the second, ending her three-match losing streak against Vondroušová with a commanding victory.
It was Jabeur’s first win in the group after Monday’s loss to Gauff, leaving both of them with one win each as Swiatek holds the top spot with two victories. Vondrousova is at the bottom after two losses in the group but all four players in the group can reach the semi-finals.