Earlier today, Elena Rybakina stormed to victory over the Tunisian player Ons Jabeur in the women’s singles final at Wimbledon, marking both her first Grand Slam win and also the first for her country of Kazakhstan.
The match, which lasted three sets, saw Jabeur—who was widely tipped to emerge as the victor, and become the first Arab player to win a Grand Slam—power her way through the first set with a series of bold slices and drop shots that left Rybakina playing catch-up. But from the start of the second set, Rybakina settled into her groove, with her growing confidence (and extraordinarily powerful serves) seeing her take it home. By the third set, Rybakina had gained decisive momentum, and despite a thrilling fight back from Jabeur with the help of a breathtaking drop shot halfway through, Rybakina maintained her lead, eventually defeating Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
While these complicated questions around identity and nationality continue to swirl, however, there’s plenty of reason to celebrate Rybakina’s impressive win. An all-but-unknown as recently as two years ago, her immensely powerful serve and steadfast composure have marked her out as a serious talent on the rise—a distinction that today’s win only confirmed. With the women’s tour currently in a state of flux after the early retirement of high-profile players like Ash Barty from the sport, the ongoing injuries sustained by Naomi Osaka, and the unpredictability of Serena Williams’s play as she enters her forties, Rybakina’s Wimbledon victory proved that she’s another player who you should firmly keep your eye on.