French Open: Ons Jabeur the first Arab woman to reach fourth round
Tunisian defeats eighth seed Sabalenka to advance to the second week in Paris
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur made French Open history on Saturday when she became the first Arab woman to reach the last-16 of the claycourt Grand Slam.
Jabeur, seeded 30, defeated Belarusian eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 in a two-hour tussle on Court 14 to achieve the milestone.
In January, Jabeur became the first Arab female player to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
Billie Jean King congratulated Jabeur on her achievement by writing on Twitter: "History at Roland Garros! Congratulations to Ons Jabeur, who is the first Arab woman to reach the singles 4th round!"
Jabeur is joined in the Roland Garros fourth round by Australian Open champion and fourth seed Sofia Kenin, who raced past Romanian qualifier Irina Bara, 6-2, 6-0.
Kenin lost the first two games before turning on the power and winning the remaining 12 to reach the last-16 at Roland Garros for the second time.
"It wasn't as dramatic, which I'm quite happy about. I kind of was a little bit tired of those dramatic matches. I just wanted to just try to start off well and finish off really well," Kenin told a news conference.
"But of course, towards the end I just started getting a little bit careless. I started like doing drop shots towards the end, like just for fun. I was like, why not? Let's just do dropshots. But then she obviously picked up her game.
"It's nice getting 12 games in a row, I have to admit."
In the men's draw, German qualifier Daniel Altmaier produced one of the biggest shocks of the tournament when he comfortably defeated Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 7-6, 6-4.
"It's my first time on this court and playing in Paris, I'm delighted to be in the fourth round," said world No 186 Altmaier, who will face Pablo Carreno Busta for a place in the quarter-finals after the Spaniard edged past compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
"My coach and I have been working so hard to be here, and while I've struggled with a few injuries, I am super pleased it's at Roland Garros.
"Before qualifying, I was struggling with an injury, so I wasn't sure I was going to play. I hope the crowd and the TV audience enjoyed watching, as I want to entertain."
Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was on course for a straightforward win before his opponent, Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene, retired injured while trailing 6-1, 6-2, 3-1. A similar scenario played out in Grigor Dimitrov's match against Roberto Carballes Baena. The Bulgarian 18th seed was leading 6-1, 6-3 when the Spaniard retired ahead of the third set.
Russia's Andrey Rublev, seeded 13, maintained his fine form with a routine 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory over South African Kevin Anderson.
Published: October 3, 2020 07:50 PM