LONDON: Ons Jabeur, Tunisia’s No.2 tennis player, rallied from a set down and defeated Marie Bouzkova, Czech Republic, 3-6, 6-1. She became the first Arab or North African woman in a Grand Slam singles semifinal.
Jabeur, third seed at The Championships, reached the semifinals at a major in 2022. This was a first for Arab women and set up a clash with Tatjana Maria from Germany.
Men’s and ladies’ tennis saw Arabs and North Africans lose in the quarterfinals of the Open Era. Jabeur lost two matches, and she was defeated by Sofia Kenin, the eventual champion at the 2020 Australian Open, and Belarusian Aryna Salenka at Wimbledon twelve months ago.
Maria won the quarterfinal in three sets after returning from two sets down to defeat Jule Niemeier, a fellow German. Maria and Jabeur will be playing for the first time in four years.
“I had hoped to reach this stage for a while. “I struggled a few times in the quarterfinal,” wtatennis.com quoted Jabeur as saying.
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Ons Jabeur Arab women at Wimbledon
“I spoke a bit to (Moroccan ATP former World No.22 and four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist), Hicham Arazi.
He said, “Arabs always lose the quarterfinals. We are sick of it.” This is unacceptable. I was like, “I’ll try,” my friend’… He was texting me, and he was so happy. He was like, “Thank you for making it to the semifinal.” Jabeur added, “Now you can go get the title.”
Jabeur lost in straight sets in her previous Grand Slam quarterfinals. Jabeur was slow against Bouzkova. Inspiring Czech rival Bidding, she defeated the third-seeded Jabeur in her first tournament set.
“I thought I played well from the beginning of the second set, especially because having an early break kinda helps me gain confidence,” Jabeur, who finished the task in 1h and 47 minutes.
It was hard to play Marie (Bouzkova). To win a point, she gets all the balls. I am glad that I took up my game. In the second set, I was more aggressive, and tactically, I tried some angles she didn’t like.
Maria and Jabeur have met three times before, but all of them were decades ago when they considered their careers. Maria won their first tour-level match in Linz in 2017. Jabeur also earned wins in qualifying matches at the 2014 US Open in New York and Beijing in 2018.
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“It’s difficult to play her (Maria). Jabeur added that it would be a great match, and they will have a lot to respect each other.”
Ons Jabeur has many firsts, but now there’s a new one: The first Arab woman to make it to the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament.
Third-seeded Tunisian, ranked third in the world, improved last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinal run by winning one more match on Tuesday at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. She defeated Marie Bouzkova, 3-6, 6-1, and 6-1 on Centre Court.
Jabeur, 27, said that “it means a lot.” 2 worldwide. “I hoped I could reach this stage for a while already. … Hicham Arazi (former Moroccan player) was my conversation partner. He said that Arabs lose in the quarterfinals every time, which is getting old. This is unacceptable. “I was like that, friend.
She tried, and she succeeded.
Jabeur will be playing Tatjana Maria in the semifinals.
In her 35th appearance at the tournament, the 34-year-old German became the oldest Grand Slam semifinalist in the Open era. She had to take breaks from tennis twice to have a child. Jule Niemeier, 22, was defeated 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 at No. 1 Court.
Maria and Jabeur are great friends.
“I’m happy that she is getting what she deserves. Jabeur stated that she knows how hard she tried,” Jabeur added. It’s hard to come back after having two children. It will be a wonderful match between us. We have a lot to respect.
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In recent years, Jabeur has set record after record for Arab players. In 2020, she became the first Arab woman in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open.
She was the first Arab player in the top 10 men’s and women’s rankings. In 2021 she became the first Arab woman to win a WTA title. Her record run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals made her the most successful.
Jabeur has been playing on the grass at the All England Club for much longer this year. She won her first four matches straight and was never troubled in any of them.
Bouzkova was the 23-year-old Czech woman who reached the third round of a major tournament for the first time. Bouzkova’s strong start did not last into the second set.