Jabeur overcomes nerves to beat former champion Muguruza Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in action during her third round match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. (REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)
TRAILBLAZING Tunisian Ons Jabeur reached the last-16 at Wimbledon on Friday (2), coming back from a set down to beat 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in 2hrs 26 minutes.
The 26-year-old Jabeur was so nervous when she moved to two match points she knelt down and was physically sick in the corner of Centre Court at the end where the Duchess of Cambridge was sitting in the Royal Box.
Muguruza saved that one but Jabeur made no mistake when she secured a second one and fell on her back in celebration getting back up to a standing ovation.
Her victory will do wonders for her goal of encouraging more Arab women, especially in North Africa, to take up the sport and eventually join her on the professional circuit.
It was another landmark performance by Jabeur who only last month became the first Arab woman to win a WTA Tour title, winning on grass at Birmingham.
“I am good I could play another match,” she laughed.
“I am very happy honestly first time on Centre Court it is amazing. It is the best day of my tennis career.”
Jabeur, whose best Grand Slam run is the quarter-finals at the 2020 Australian Open, said she was nervous at the outset but gradually settled into a rhythm.
“I was a little bit nervous at the beginning but by the second I tried to be calmer.
“I lost to her last time so this was kind of my revenge in a nice way!”
Muguruza had taken a tight first set but 26-year-old Jabeur worked her way back into the match and by the third she clearly had the upper hand.
Muguruza’s serve was continually under pressure with Jabeur breaking her on her first service game of the deciding set.
The Venezuela-born Spaniard saved several break points on her next service game but Jabeur broke again for 4-1.
The Tunisian was never really under pressure save from herself from then on before sealing a fourth round clash with Poland’s 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek.
Sabalenka into last 16 for first time
Second seed Aryna Sabalenka reached the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time on Friday (2) with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Colombian qualifier Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.
World number four Sabalenka will face either Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan or Shelby Rogers of the United States for a place in the quarterfinals.