Ons Jabeur becomes first Arab player to reach WTA 1000 final

Jabeur beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-3 in the Madrid Open semifinal



Tunisia's Ons Jabeur celebrates winning her semifinal match against Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova. (Reuters)
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur celebrates winning her semifinal match against Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova. (Reuters)

By AFP

Published: Thu 5 May 2022, 7:20 PM

Eighth seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia became the first Arab player to reach a WTA 1000 final when she beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-3 in the Madrid Open semifinal on Thursday.

The Tunisian followed up wins against Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and former world number one Simona Halep with just her second success in eight meetings with Alexandrova to move into a maiden WTA 1000 final.

“It was a very emotional match. For those who don’t know, I have a 1-6 record against her. So it was a tough match mentally,” said Jabeur.

“But I’m glad that I pulled the win today. I played really good, I was ready for the right moments and hopefully I can continue playing at this level for the final.”

The first Arab player in history to crack the top 10, Jabeur awaits the winner of the semifinal between American 12th seed Jessica Pegula and Swiss lefty Jil Teichmann.

In the men’s event, former world number one Murray was forced to pull out of his last-16 match against Djokovic, citing food poisoning.

It would have been the 37th meeting between Murray and current world number one Djokovic, but the first since they played each other in the Doha final in January 2017.

Djokovic, a three-time champion in Madrid, now moves directly into a quarterfinal against Polish number 12 seed Hubert Hurkacz, who knocked out Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-3.

Sixth seed Andrey Rublev reached the seventh Masters 1000 quarterfinal of his career with a 7-6(9/7), 7-5 result against Dan Evans of Great Britain.

Rublev bounced back from 1-3 down in the opening set, and saved a set point in the tiebreak before securing a lead in one hour and 15 minutes.

In the second set, Rublev saw an early service break lead wiped by Evans before he made a late move in the 11th game to wrap up a hard-fought victory, his third in five meetings with the Brit.

The Russian finished the match with 46 winners, 34 of which came off the forehand wing.

Rublev, who was also tested in his opener against Jack Draper, admits it has been a “stressful” tournament for him so far, despite arriving to the Spanish capital fresh from a title run in Belgrade.

“I’m going on court thinking for sure today I’m going to do everything and I will be calm and then I’m doing really stupid and easy mistakes that make no sense,” said Rublev

“Then I manage somehow to calm down and at the end starts these roller coasters.”

Rublev will face either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Grigor Dimitrov in the next round.


More news from Tennis