Jabeur becomes first Arab woman to reach French Open last 16




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Paris –   Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur became the first Arab woman to reach the fourth round of the French Open as she beat eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(7) 2-6 6-3 on Saturday.

The 30th seed displayed her trademark court craft to undermine Sabalenka’s power as she surpassed her previous best third round showing at Roland Garros 2017.

Sabalenka led 5-1 the opening set tie-break, but a series of errors allowed 26-year-old Jabeur to snatch it.

Former French Open junior champion Jabeur’s level dipped the face of some fierce Sabalenka hitting as the second set slipped away in little 20 minutes.

But the Tunisian, who became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final Australia this year, re-grouped and forged 3-0 ahead in the deciding set.

She also had points for a 4-0 lead, but Belarussian Sabalenka upped the intensity and the decibel level to stay contention.

Sabalenka saved three match-points at 2-5, then had a break point the next game.

But Jabeur remained composed as she brought up a match-point and showed great touch to angle away a short forehand, before sealing the win with a first serve.

(Reuters/NAN)