MENA Sports Wrap: Wimbledon campaign ends in 'painful' defeat for Tunisia's Ons Jabeur

MENA Sports Wrap: Wimbledon campaign ends in 'painful' defeat for Tunisia's Ons Jabeur
Tunisian tennis player Ons Jabeur made a stunning run in the Wimbledon tournament, Saudi Arabia is looking to set up the boxing match of the decade, and Morocco's women's team made history.
3 min read
15 July, 2023
It's been another big week for Middle East sports including Morocco and Tottenham Hotspur forward Rosella Ayane [Getty]

Ons Jaber was defeated by Marketa Vondrousova at Wimbledon’s Centre Court on Saturday, depriving the Tunisian tennis star once again of Grand Slam glory.

Vondrousova, who becomes the first unseeded woman to win Wimbledon in 60 years, delivered a shock 6-4, 6-4 sweep in the final.

"After everything I've been through - I had a cast on this time last year - and now I can't believe I'm holding this trophy," said Vondrousova, referring to her 2022 wrist injury.

The Czech champion paid tribute to the tearful Jabeur, who she described as an "inspiration".

Reacting to her defeat, Jabeur said: "I will try to speak because this is very tough. I think this is the most painful loss of my career.

"First, I want to say congratulations to Marketa and her team for this amazing tournament. You are an amazing player and I know you had a lot of injuries so I am very happy for you," she added.

A win for Jabeur would have made her the first Arab and African woman to win a Grand Slam singles title.

"It's painful because you feel so close to achieving something that you want, and actually back to square one," Jabeur said.

"Again, I just try to get rid of these negative thoughts and continue being positive."

Ready to roar? Atlas Lionesses prepare for Women’s World Cup

The Moroccan women’s national football team are gearing up for the FIFA Women’s World Cup beginning Thursday 20 July.

The Atlas Lionesses are the Middle East and North Africa’s sole representation at the tournament, which is taking place in Australia and New Zealand.

Their run to the finals of the Africa Cup on Nations last year secured them a place at the their first-ever World Cup.

The odds are somewhat stacked against the Lionesses, who sit at 72nd in FIFA’s latest world team rankings.

Drawn in Group H, they’ll have to come second in a group featuring Colombia, South Korea, and third-ranked Germany to make it to the knockout stages of the tournament.

Some 14 of the 23 players chosen for the World Cup squad are based overseas. They include Tottenham Hotspur forward Rosella Ayane

Morocco face Jamaica on Sunday, their last friendly before the World Cup.

Rumble in Riyadh: Fury v Ngannou

British boxer Tyson Fury will meet combat sport rival Francis Ngannou in Riyadh on 28 October for what has been dubbed as the fight of the year.

Fury this week confirmed that he will meet Cameroonian-French Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Ngannou in the ring, under boxing rules, as part of the Riyadh Season festival.

The boxer v MMA bout follows similar crossover fights - including Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor in 2017 - and will likely generate millions for both athletes.

The match will decide the "Baddest Man on the Planet" and Fury - nicknamed the Gypsy King - appears eager to cement his name in the history books.

"As soon as that bell goes, it'll be bombs away! This guy is supposed to be the hardest puncher in the world, but let's see how he reacts when he gets hit by the Big GK," he said.

Ngannou responded: "I'd like to thank Riyadh Season and my team at 3Point0 Labs for helping put this event together. All I will say to Tyson for now is he better dance in that ring because if I touch him, he's going to sleep."

There have been questions over the grand prize for the bout, with Saudi Arabia known to splash out to attract the world's biggest and best sporting talent.

"The bag is so big, he may just drop it on the way to the bank, let's just say that," Ngannou's manager Marquel Martin alluded.