Ons Jabeur becomes first Arab tennis player to break into top 10 singles rankings

Tunisian reached the milestone following her quarter-final win over Anett Kontaveit at Indian Wells

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Tunisia's Ons Jabeur created history at Indian Wells as she secured passage to the BNP Paribas Open's last four with victory over Estonia's Anett Kontaveit.

Jabeur kept her cool to complete a 7-5, 6-4 win in just under an hour and a half.

With the win, Jabeur became the first Arab tennis player, man or woman, to earn a top 10 singles ranking.

"Top 10 I know is the beginning," Jabeur said after the match. "I know I deserve this place from a long time since I was playing well. But I want to prove that I deserve to be here, I deserve to be one of the top 10 players.

"There is a lot of things that I need to improve. I'm very happy, a lot of emotions right now, but I'm still in competition so I'm trying to calm down and not overthink about top 10. Probably will celebrate after the tournament. I just believed in myself, I worked hard, and this is just the beginning of great things."

Jabeur is projected to be eighth in the ranking but could rise as high as five by winning the tournament.

She will face Paula Badosa in the semi-finals, after the Spaniard upset German 10th seed Angelique Kerber 6-4 7-5.

“Feels amazing,” Jabeur said. “We’ve been working hard for years. The end of last season I said I wanted to be in top 10. It means a lot, but we’re not going to stop here and go further hopefully.”

Jabeur, runner-up in Chicago recently, won her WTA Tour-leading 48th match of the year. Jabeur beat Kontaveit for the third time in four career meetings. Since losing in three sets to Jabeur at Cincinnati in August, Kontaveit had won 16 of 17 matches, including 14 in straight sets, while claiming two titles.

Updated: October 15, 2021, 5:40 AM