Ons Jabeur wins Berlin Open after injury forces Belinda Bencic to retire

Tunisian world No 4 was leading 6-3, 2-1 when Swiss called a halt to final

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Top seed Ons Jabeur secured a third career title when opponent Belinda Bencic was forced to retire injured in the Berlin Open final on Sunday.

Bencic suffered an ankle injury in the final game of the opening set, and though the Swiss player continued for three more games, she called a halt to the match while trailing 6-3, 2-1.

“I told her, ‘Forget about it, forget about today’. The most important thing for me is that she's OK,” Jabeur, who beat American teenager Coco Gauff in the semi-final, said.

It was not the way Jabeur would have liked to have secured the victory in a season in which the Tunisian has reached a career-high fourth in the world. She also became the first African and first Arab player to win a WTA 1000 event at last month's Madrid Open.

She is projected to move up to third in the rankings on Monday.

Even as the crowd gave both finalists a round of applause, Jabeur was busy helping treat Bencic as she took her seat, bringing her an ice bucket for her ankle.

“You deserve this title and I really don't want to take this moment away from you,” Olympic champion Bencic told Jabeur after the match

Jabeur dropped only one set during the tournament, in a warning to her rivals ahead of Wimbledon, which gets under way on June 27.

She is only the second woman to win multiple titles this year after world No 1 Iga Swiatek, who skipped the Berlin Open due to a shoulder issue, saying she wanted to recover and rest before the UK Grand Slam.

Jabeur, 27, will next head to Eastbourne, where she is set to partner with 23-times major champion Serena Williams for the doubles event. Williams, 40, is making her return to the tour a year after her last match.

Updated: June 24, 2022, 11:53 AM