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Infosys | Officil digital innovation partner

Jabeur keeps historic run rolling

Ons Jabeur became the first Arab – man or woman – to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since 2004 by upsetting No.27 seed Wang Qiang 7-6(4), 6-1 in the fourth round on Sunday.

The Tunisian world No.78 followed up her battling victory over Caroline Wozniacki in her previous match with a first win in three attempts against Wang, who had conquered Serena Williams two days earlier.

Wang handed Jabeur a hefty straight-sets defeat just two weeks ago in Shenzhen but the former Roland Garros junior champion did everything right to avenge that loss and reach the last eight at a major for the first time in her career.

MORE: AO2020 women’s draw

She’s the first Arab, and first North African, to make it this far in singles at a Slam since Morocco’s Hicham Arazi made the Australian Open quarterfinals 16 years ago.

She next takes on American No.14 seed Sofia Kenin, who knocked out Coco Gauff on Melbourne Arena.

26 Jan 20
Ons Jabeur vs. Qiang Wang - Match Highlights (R4) | Australian Open 2020

Jabeur wipes out Wang


“I’m really shaking right now, it’s unbelievable. I can’t describe how I feel,” said Jabeur, who will become the first Arab woman to crack the top 50 when the new rankings come out next week.

Looking ahead to her next clash, she added: “Sofia is a really good player, she’s a tough one, she’s a fighter, last time she won against me, so maybe now it’s my revenge.”

Jabeur started the contest with a break, on a netted forehand error from Wang but she was soon facing two break points on her own serve and quickly lost her advantage.

The North African fell behind 0-40 in game four and was broken on a confident passing shot winner from Wang, who edged ahead 3-1.

A 133km/hr crosscourt backhand winner that ended a 16-shot rally saw Jabeur get a break point in the seventh game. Wang staved it off, but was broken on Jabeur’s third chance of the game. They were all square at 4-4 minutes later.

Jabeur sent a forehand long to face a first set point on her serve but some big-hitting from the 25-year-old helped her get out of trouble.

Wang Qiang in action against Ons Jabeur

The set fittingly went to a tiebreak, which Jabeur concluded with a brilliant inside-out forehand winner to take a one-set lead in 53 minutes. It was the first set she had won in three meetings with Wang.

Wang wiped a 0-40 deficit in her opening service game of the second set but Jabeur still got the break and soon created a 3-0 gap.

Jabeur kept applying pressure on the Wang serve, and broke again in game four. An ace gave Jabeur three match points and a forehand winner sealed the historic victory for the Tunisian. It is her 10th Grand Slam main draw victory.

How far can Ons Jabeur go at AO2020?

“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,” Jabeur said during her press conference.

“But I tried to actually win this time because was frustrating every time when she wins very easy. 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.”

After lifting the Roland Garros junior trophy in 2011 as a 16-year-old, Jabeur admits she struggled with the transition to the pros. With a crafty game that boasts a wide array of weapons, it took her time to hone her skills and figure out the right way to win matches.

“It was a little bit frustrating just after the juniors because I was expecting to do better. Not like lose a few years. So many players I played with in juniors, I saw them, they're were in the top 50, top 20,” she explains

“But my game is different. I like to play differently than the other girls. Sometimes I have a lot of choices that I don't know what to do at the end. But I'm happy that it came. I knew it was going to come one day. I just had to be patient, still believe in it.

“I won't lie to you guys. Sometimes I kind of lost hope little bit. But then I have such a good team behind me, my family, I couldn't stop dreaming about it, so I'm really happy that it came this year.”

On her part, Wang says she can still take positives from her fortnight in Melbourne.

“I did a really good job for the third round, but today my performance was not so good. But it’s okay, for me, there are still positive things for me,” said the 28-year-old Chinese.

“I think she didn’t start very well, but after that she played more aggressive and I played passive today. Today she played a lot of shots, she made me uncomfortable, she sliced and did different things to me.”

Jabeur wipes out Wang