Ons Jabeur has another chance with Elena Rybakina, a year after losing to her in the Wimbledon final.
This time it’s only the quarterfinals, but the Tunisian player has to go through the defending champion for a chance to win her first Grand Slam tournament.
Jabeur, the sixth seed, defeated two-time champion Petra Kvitova 6-0, 6-3 on Monday in the fourth round at the All England Club.
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«I’m probably going for my revenge,» Jabeur said on the court. «It was a tough final last year. It’s going to bring back a lot of memories.»
Jabeur has been a Grand Slam runner-up twice, both times last year. After losing to Rybakina in three sets at Wimbledon, she lost to Iga Swiatek in straight sets at the US Open, coming close to becoming the first African or Arab woman to win a major tennis tournament in the sport’s professional era.
Two things jump out at Jabeur when he thinks about the Wimbledon loss to Rybakina, who represents Kazakhstan but was born in Russia.
«The fact that I was really emotionally drained,» she began. «I wanted to keep pushing, but I felt a bit empty. Secondly, maybe what my coach was telling me, to stick more to the plan, to do certain things, even though I was thinking about something else in that game.»
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Jabeur, 28, hopes to «play with more freedom, just think about each point and not the results.»
Mission accomplished on Monday, when Jabeur felt free enough on Center Court to hit a David Beckham-esque half-volley shot (Jabeur is a fan of the English great) off a bouncing ball as he won a set and 3-1.
The ninth-seeded Kvitova, who knocked out Jabeur in the first round of Wimbledon in 2019, carved a gap early on, hitting a double fault and three unforced errors to give Jabeur a service break in the first game.
Rybakina advanced on Monday when Beatriz Haddad Maia withdrew from her match with a lower back injury with Rybakina winning 4-1.
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«Now I feel much better and more confident coming in and playing Center Court,» Rybakina said. «It’s different from the first round. I think it was just in general the atmosphere and the nerves to play the first match to get used to the grass, just to play a few matches here. I think mentally I’m much better now. Physically also good now. «
In other women’s results, second seed Aryna Sabalenka reached the quarterfinals by defeating No. 21 Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4, 6-0. The Australian Open champion will then face Madison Keys. The 25th-seeded American defeated 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.
On Tuesday, top-seeded Iga Swiatek will play Elina Svitolina on Center Court for a spot in the semifinals, and fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula will take on Marketa Vondrousova in the other women’s quarterfinal match of the day.