Tunisia's Ons Jabeur knocked out of Australian Open

The No 2 seed falls in second round against Czech Marketa Vondrousova

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Ons Jabeur suffered a shock second-round exit at the Australian Open on Thursday, becoming the latest seed to fall at Melbourne Park in a humbling defeat.

The Tunisian No 2 seed was beaten 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 in 1hr 41min by the Czech world No 86 Marketa Vondrousova.

Vondrousova, 23, was ranked as high as 14th in 2019 and is on the comeback trail after an injury-hit season which resulted in surgery on her left wrist.

"It's always tough to come back after such a long time," she said.

"I just started in November and I felt good and I did great," added the left-hander, who reached the last 16 at Melbourne Park in 2021.

"I worked on my fitness a lot and I'm just very happy to be back on this level and to be able to play these sorts of matches.

"She played some amazing points. I just tried to stay focused and play my game. And I'm just so happy to be through."

Jabeur had only fleetingly showed the form that took her to two Grand Slam finals last year during a shaky opening-round win.

And in a late-night match on Rod Laver Arena, she struggled again, dropping her first service game against Vondrousova, who raced into a 3-0 lead.

The Czech broke again for 5-1 and secured the set in just 24 minutes of dominant tennis.

Jabeur, who missed last year's Australian Open with a back injury, won Madrid and Berlin trophies last year in a breakout season which propelled her to second in the rankings.

She hit back at the start of the second set but was broken again when serving for the set at 5-3.

Jabeur then blew a set point on Vondrousova's next service game, but at 6-5 created another chance and this time converted.

It was a rare moment to celebrate in a desperate performance devoid of any spark against an inspired opponent who simply made fewer errors.

Vondrousova was not to be denied, quickly securing a triple break in the final set for a famous win.

Seeds Veronika Kudermetova, Anett Kontaveit, Liudmila Samsonova and Irina-Camelia Begu all lost earlier on Thursday, but there was success for fourth seed Caroline Garcia and fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Updated: January 19, 2023, 3:10 PM
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