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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Ons Jabeur becomes first Arab woman to reach French Open last 16

Ons Jabeur, who is seeded 30th, displayed her trademark court craft to undermine Aryna Sabalenka’s power as she surpassed her previous best third round showing at Roland Garros in 2017.

By: Reuters | Updated: October 3, 2020 8:07:36 pm
Ons Jabeur reacts during her third round match against Aryna Sabalenka. (Source: Reuters)

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur became the first Arab woman to reach the fourth round of the French Open as she beat eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(7) 2-6 6-3 on Saturday.

The 30th seed displayed her trademark court craft to undermine Sabalenka’s power as she surpassed her previous best third round showing at Roland Garros in 2017.

Sabalenka led 5-1 in the opening set tie break, but a series of errors allowed 26-year-old Jabeur to snatch it.

Former French Open junior champion Jabeur’s level dipped in the face of some fierce Sabalenka hitting as the second set slipped away in little over 20 minutes.

But the Tunisian, who became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in Australia this year, re-grouped and forged 3-0 ahead in the deciding set.

She also had points for a 4-0 lead, but Belarussian Sabalenka upped the intensity and the decibel level to stay in contention.

Sabalenka saved three match points at 2-5, then had a break point in the next game. But Jabeur remained composed as she brought up a match point and showed great touch to angle away a short forehand, then sealing the win with a first serve.

Kenin races into French Open fourth round

American fourth seed Sofia Kenin stormed into the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-2 6-0 demolition of Romanian qualifier Irina Bara on Saturday.

The Australian Open champion lost the first two games before turning on the power and winning the remaining 12 to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros for the second time.

Bara took her chances early on and broke for 2-0 but her hopes of a major upset were shortlived as Kenin shook her early jitters to advance.

She only had trouble finishing it off on her own serve, most of her drop shot attempts failing in embarrassing fashion.

Kenin could face a Romanian player for the third round in a row if Patricia Maria Tig beats Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro later on Saturday.

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