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 in 2017.
Sabalenka led 5-1 in the opening set tie-break, but a series of errors allowed 26-year-old Jabeur to snatch it.
But the Tunisian, who became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in 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 in contention.
Sabalenka saved three match-points at 2-5, then had a break point in 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.