Jabeur, Muguruza To Play For Chicago Fall Tennis Classic Title

Chicago Fall Tennis Classic

WASHINGTON, October 3, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Ons Jabeur collected her 44th win of the season to advance to the WTA 500 Chicago Fall Tennis Classic final Saturday afternoon at XS Tennis Village on the city’s South Side.

Although it was an abbreviated victory, which came after her opponent, No. 5 seed Elena Rybakina, retired early in the second set, a win’s a win and it enabled the 16th-ranked Jabeur to pass World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka’s 43 wins and become the WTA leader in victories.

Meanwhile, the No. 6 seed Jabeur from Tunisia will face No. 2 seed Garbiñe Muguruza. The World No. 9 from Spain, who is into her 16th WTA final of her career, didn’t even have to play her scheduled semifinal. It was called off and she was declared winner by a walkover after No. 41 Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic was unable to play due to a gastrointestinal illness. Muguruza will be going for her nine career WTA title and second of the year after winning the WTA 1000 in Dubai on a hard court in March.

Jabeur and Muguruza will be playing for the third time. The Spaniard won a second-round match at Hobart in 2020 and Jabeur prevailed earlier this year at Wimbledon. Both went three sets.

Now through to her fourth career WTA final, where she hopes to replicate her winning performance from earlier this year when she won a WTA 250 on grass in Birmingham, England, Jabeur’s match with Rybakina from Kazakhstan ended after 56 minutes. The Tunisian was ahead 6-4, 3-2 and had hit 14 winners to 11 unforced errors and converted all three of her break-point opportunities.

During her on-court interview, Jabeur praised her fallen opponent. “Elena is such an amazing player – I hope she will be ready for Indian Wells, which is such an important tournament,” she said.

“It’s never easy to finish a match like that.”

On a happier note, Jabeur gave an appreciative shout-out to the many Tunisians who crowded into the makeshift center court bleachers at XS Tennis Village, several whom were waving red-and-white Tunisian flags. They have become familiar sights around the world, wherever the popular Jabeur happens to be competing.

“It’s means a lot – honestly. Tunisians are everywhere, and I love that,” Jabeur said. “Every place is amazing, and being here in Chicago, seeing all the Tunisians, it feels like home.”

• Sunday’s doubles final will pair unseeded Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Andrea Petkovic of Germany against American wild cards Caroline Dolehide and Coco Vandeweghe.

Peschke and Petkovic took out No. 5 seeds Nicole Melichar of the United States and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands, 7-6 (4), 6-4, while Dolehide and Vandeweghe eliminated No. 6 seeds Darija Jurak of Croatia and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia, 6-3, 6-4.