Tunisian fan favourite Ons Jabeur blasted her way into the last eight of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open with a straight-sets victory over Britain's Emma Raducanu.
Having been given a bye in the Round of 32, as one of the tournament’s four top seeds, Jabeur was in singles action for the first time, and eager to make up for the disappointment of exiting the doubles alongside partner Naomi Osaka on Tuesday night.
It took Jabeur just one hour and 18 minutes to book her place in the quarterfinals.
Having edged an entertaining, and relatively close, opening set, Jabeur stepped it up in the second and simply had too much for Raducanu, the Tunisian going through courtesy of a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
In the quarterfinals, Jabeur she will meet Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, who beat Magda Linette in the longest WTA main draw match of 2024 earlier today.
Haddad Maia overcame Magda Linette in a contest, which included two tie-breaks, that lasted three hours and 42 minutes.
The Brazilian will be joined in the quarter-finals of the competition by Daria Kasatkina, who produced an impressive display to overcome Ashlyn Krueger in straight sets earlier in the day.
Haddad Maia and Linette were involved in a three-set thriller which was only 13 minutes short of becoming the longest WTA match in history, with the first two sets decided by tie-break.
Fans on Stadium Court enjoyed an absolute classic which, for two sets, was impossible to call which way it would go.
Haddad Maia, who is through to the quarter-finals of the doubles competition alongside compatriot Luisa Stefani, won the decisive tie-break at the end of a pulsating first set, and the second followed a similar all-action theme, with Linette eventually edging it to force a final set.
Linette appeared to be running on empty in the third, however, which should come as no surprise given her late-night exploits 24 hours earlier as she and partner Bernarda Pera defeated Ons Jabeur and Naomi Osaka in the doubles, with Haddad Maia dominating and running out 7-6, 6-7, 6-1 winner.
Kasatkina was the first player to secure her place in the quarter-finals as she triumphed on Stadium Court in the day’s opening game against American Krueger.
A French Open semi-finalist in 2022, Kasatkina looked full of confidence and played some fantastic tennis throughout the contest.
After winning the first set comfortably, she was pushed all the way by Krueger in the second, but Kasatkina wasn’t to be denied, finishing the match strongly and progressing to the last eight courtesy of a 6-3, 7-5 victory.
Following her win, Kasatkina said: “It was a tough match today in difficult conditions, very windy, sometimes sunny, sometimes not, so it’s hard to play against a good, tough competitor like Ashlyn.
“I’m really happy with the way I played and managed the match. At times she was playing very well and not making any mistakes, and at times she would give me a bit more, so my role was to stay the same on every point and I think I did that.
“The conditions are tough and the balls are becoming very heavy quite quickly, so I’m very happy with the way it went.”
While the biggest talking point from the doubles competition so far is undoubtedly the elimination of Jabeur and Osaka, there was no shortage of entertainment in today’s matches, which began with the American partnership of Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeating Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi, from Japan and Indonesia respectively, in straight sets to move into the last eight.
Heather Watson, who faces Cristina Bucșa in the singles tomorrow, and partner Linda Noskova are also through after beating Ellen Perez and Nicole Melichar-Martinez 6-3, 7-6, while Shuko Aoyama and Aleksandra Krunic overcame Wu Fang-Hsien and Zhu Lin in three sets to progress.
Tickets selling fast
Fans wishing to attend the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open this coming weekend will need to act quickly as both Courtside and Category 1 tickets are now completely sold out across both days (February 10 and 11).
It promises to be a superb weekend of entertainment at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City as the singles and doubles competitions draw to a climax, with semi-finals on Saturday and finals taking place on Sunday.
A limited number of Category 2 tickets remain for both days, which can be purchased via the below link: www.mubadalaabudhabiopen.com/tickets/
As well as enjoying some brilliant tennis action, children attending today as part of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Schools Program were treated to a photo opportunity with American stars Caroline Dolehide and Desirae Krawczyk, who are both competing in the tournament.
Elsewhere on day five of the tournament, Kasatkina visited the Mubadala Suite where she conducted a Q&A session, while Sara Sorribes Tormo, who faces Barbora Krejcikova in the last 16 tomorrow, met Abdullah Ojel, a tennis content creator, to take part in a reaction test and answer a series of quickfire questions about her career.
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