Aussie Sharma topples Jabeur for first WTA title

Miami (AFP) –


Australian Astra Sharma, ranked 165th in the world, rallied to beat 27th-ranked Ons Jabeur 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 on Sunday to win her first WTA title at Charleston, South Carolina.

Sharma, who beat a top-30 player for the first time in three attempts, broke Tunisian top seed Jabeur three times in the third set to give herself a chance to serve out the match, which she did in style with a love game.

The Singapore-born Australian, who reached the 2019 Australian Open mixed doubles final with compatriot John-Patrick Smith, became the sixth first-time singles winner on the WTA tour this year.

Sharma, who has been ranked as high as 85th in the world, is projected to rise to 120th on the strength of the victory in her second career singles final.

Jabeur, who has climbed to a career-high ranking since becoming the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final at the 2020 Australian Open, used her wide array of weapons to dominate the first set, mixing deep ground strokes with lobs and angled passing shots to build a 5-1 lead and pocketing the set without facing a break point.

But Sharma gained the first break of the second set for a 3-1 lead.

Jabeur immediately broke back and they went with serve to the 12th game in which Jabeur led 40-15 before the Aussie four straight points to take the set - sealing it when she raced forward to reach a drop shot and scooped the ball back past Jabeur.

After they traded breaks early in the third, Sharma won the final four games to triumph.