French Open: Ons Jabeur eases past Clara Tauson to set up Gauff quarter-final

Alcaraz to face Tsitsipas in last eight of men's draw at Roland Garros

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur plays a backhand return to Denmark's Clara Tauson. AFP
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Tunisia's Ons Jabeur slid into the French Open quarter-finals for the second time as she earned a hard-fought 6-4, 6-4 victory over Denmark's Clara Tauson on Sunday.

No 8 seed Jabeur broke 72nd-ranked Tauson's service in a tight third game and nearly dropped her own right afterwards in a marathon 26-point game but held firm and went on to clinch the first set.

With a superb passing shot, the 29-year-old Tunisian immediately took the lead in the second set but could not hold it and had to wait until the fifth game to break again as Tauson hit two mistimed unforced errors.

Tauson, who defeated 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in the second round and former runner-up Sofia Kenin in the third, nearly drew level in the 10th game but Jabeur kept the upper hand to wrap up victory in little over an hour and a half.

Jabeur, targeting a first Grand Slam title after finishing runner-up twice at Wimbledon and at the US Open last year, will face world No 3 Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals.

Afterwards, Jabeur said: "Clara played really well, she was really tough but I knew it was going to be tough.

"But thanks so much to the fans. I stayed focused and concentrated all the way to the victory. The idea was to play my own game and my own style because I knew I could cause her some trouble and I did."

On her quarter-final against Gauff, she said: "She's a fantastic player, she's been playing extremely well, she won the US Open last year, she's tough on the clay but I think I can cause her some problems."

Earlier in the day, the American Gauff was far too strong for Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto, sealing a 6-1, 6-2 win.

The match began at a fast pace, with the 45th-ranked Cocciaretto winning only two points in the first four games on unforced errors by Gauff, who won the US Open last year after losing the 2022 final in Paris.

Cocciaretto regained some confidence at the end of the first set with longer rallies and a few winning shots but Gauff stayed on top, losing only one game to her 23-year-old opponent.

Gauff, who landed only 56 per cent of her first serves, suffered a small slump early in the second set, losing her first service game and allowing the Italian to respond.

Cocciaretto managed to win one of her service games but that was not enough to beat Gauff, who finished the match in exactly one hour.

"I'm really happy with how I played today. I played her in Dubai, and it was a little bit tougher. So happy that I took what I learnt from that match into today," Gauff said.

Iga Swiatek cranked up her pursuit of a third successive French Open crown on Sunday by storming into the quarter-finals with a 40-minute blitz.

World No 1 Swiatek thrashed Russia's Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0 and will go on to play Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, the fifth seed who ended the run of Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic in straight sets.

"It went pretty quickly," said Swiatek, who dropped a mere 10 points in the shortest completed match of her career.

"I was really focused and in the zone. I wasn't looking at the score so I continued working on my game."

Meanwhile, in the men's draw, Greek ninth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas lost the opening set but went on to defeat Italian Matteo Arnaldi 3-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the fourth round.

Tsitsipas keeps alive his bid to win his first Grand Slam title, but the 2021 Roland Garros finalist was put to the test early on by Arnaldi who had ousted sixth seed Andrey Rublev in the previous round.

Next up for Tsitsipas is a clash against Carlos Alcaraz, who fired a warning to the rest of the field that he is getting better and better.

The Spanish third seed dropped only seven games as he dispatched Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Alcaraz, looking for a first French Open title, arrived with a lingering forearm injury and having not played a match in three weeks.

But this is the man who pitched up at Queen’s Club last year having only ever played six matches on grass, and ended up winning Wimbledon.

“The most important thing is to believe in myself,” he said. “It doesn’t matter that I don’t have too many matches on my back and that I didn’t come with a lot of rhythm.

“After every practice and every match I’m getting better and better and that was easy for me. On Philippe-Chatrier it is easy for me to play and it is better to get to 100 per cent.”

Updated: June 02, 2024, 6:26 PM