MELBOURNE, January 26, 2020 (by Sharada Rajagopalan)
World No. 78 Ons Jabeur from Tunisia wrote a new chapter of Arab tennis at the Australian Open on Sunday. The 25-year-old defeated the 27th seed Qiang Wang from China 7-6(4), 6-1 in an hour and 17 minutes to reach her first quarter-final at a major. In doing so, Jabeur also became the first Arab player to reach this far at a major.
Jabeur’s campaign Down Under began with an upset over 12th seed British player Johanna Konta. Despite the result, she flew under the radar until her win over 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. And while attention still eluded her after that win, this result has made it impossible to look past her in the women’s singles draw.
There wasn’t a bigger smile on Day 7.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2020
Emotionally spent after her efforts, Jabeur said, “I’m really shaking right now, it’s unbelievable. I can’t describe how I feel.” In defeating Wang, Jabeur also avenged her Shenzhen International defeat to the World No. 29. Speaking about tactics, Jabeur said that the slowness of the court helped her game.
“I was actually not that nervous as the last matches. She’s obviously better ranked than me. We played few times and she won, so less stress,” she said. “The first set was tricky little bit because I started good, but then went down little bit, couldn’t win my serve. I liked that the court was slow. Gave me more chance to play my game, mix it up little bit. Obviously second set was amazing for me. I was really relaxed. I tried to play my game. I’m happy that I went through.”
Jabeur will play fellow first-time quarter-finalist, 14th seed Sofia Kenin. The 21-year-old defeated Coco Gauff in the American derby 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-0.
The tournament top-seed, Australian Ashleigh Barty will face-off against the seventh-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova for a spot in the semi-finals. Barty defeated Alison Riske from the United States 6-3, 1-6, 6-4. Kvitova halted Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2 in their respectively fourth round clashes.