Ons Jabeur bothered by knee injury in Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open quarter-final defeat

Tunisian second seed loses 6-4, 6-3 to Brazilian sixth seed Beatriz Haddad Maia on Friday evening

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Ons Jabeur revealed that she has been troubled by a long-standing knee injury all week after losing in the quarter-finals of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open on Friday.

The Tunisian second seed was hampered by the injury throughout her 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Brazilian sixth seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, and looked visibly upset towards the end of the match.

After such a dazzling display in her first match against Emma Raducanu on Wednesday, it was clear something was bothering Jabeur during Friday's contest, and she found herself 3-1 down after the fourth game. With no further breaks of serve, Haddad Maia closed out the first set relatively comfortably.

Jabeur then showed tremendous fight to bounce back from being broken in the first game of the second set, quickly levelling for 2-2, but her resistance all but ended when Haddad Maia broke again for a 5-4 lead to give herself the opportunity to serve for the match.

Throwing caution to the wind, Jabeur unloaded a series of winners in an attempt to claw her way back into the match and engineered three break points. However, Haddad Maia held firm to close out the victory in an hour-and-a-half, and the Brazilian will face Russian seventh seed Daria Kasatkina in Saturday's semi-finals.

"First of all, congratulations to Beatriz, she played a great game," Jabeur, 29, said. "I wasn't feeling 100 per cent, unfortunately, my knee still bothers me a bit.

"Today wasn't to be my day. I was trying to fight and get through this match but when you play against someone who plays amazing like Beatriz, it's tough to compete. I tried my best and tried to stay focused and play my game but unfortunately, I couldn't."

Jabeur then confirmed that it was a recurrence of an old knee injury that was bothering her during the match and that she had been dealing with it since before the tournament began.

"We go way back with the knee; some tournaments it's good, some tournaments it's bad," the Tunisian world No 6 said. "I've been feeling it for the past week but today was the worst day. Usually during practice I try to manage but during matches, it's a bit tougher."

The next focus, Jabeur said, is to get a diagnosis on her knee to see how it might affect her busy upcoming schedule. The Tunisian is scheduled to play in Doha and Dubai over the next two weeks, before heading to the United States for Indian Wells, the Miami Open, and her Charleston Open title defence – "if my knee holds up."

Jabeur added: "I'm a bit sad because I was starting to feel my game and feel good, and these injuries don't help. The priority now is to find the solution to try and keep up and hopefully I can do it."

Despite the disappointment, Jabeur took the opportunity to thank her fans for once again turning out in numbers at Zayed Sports City to cheer her on.

"I love how the people here cheer for me," she said. "I always feel sad when I lose because I want to win in front of them, I want to win for the kids but that's tennis. I try to do my best."

The other semi-final match on Saturday will be contested by Kazakh top seed Elena Rybakina and Russian eighth seed Liudmila Samsonova.

Updated: February 09, 2024, 4:35 PM