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Stuttgart, April 20 – Coming off a 2022 season in which she made history for her country and region by making back-to-back Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, Ons Jabeur has struggled in 2023 as she made a return from injury to the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour.
The 28-year-old from Tunisia, who finished the 2022 season as World No.2, was snake-bitten in January. A second-round loss at the Australian Open left her in tears and she was forced to skip the Middle East swing to undergo minor surgery.
On Wednesday night, Jabeur was four points away from an early exit from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix before storming back to beat No 22 seed Jelena Ostapenko 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 to advance to her second straight quarterfinal in Stuttgart.
Also advancing to the next round in Stuttgart, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka who defeated Barbora
Krejcikova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3; sixth seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who got the better of Jule Niemeier of Germany 7-5, 6-3 while Maria Sakkari of Greece overcame Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3.
Meanwhile, No.5 seed Coco Gauff scored her first career victory at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(3) win over Veronika Kudermetova in 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Before their opening round clash in Stuttgart on Wednesday, Ostapenko and Jabeur had split their two previous matches on the WTA Tour level. Their one meeting on clay came on the ITF level in 2015, in which Ostapenko won 6-3, 6-4, said a report on the WTA Tour website.
Ostapenko was quick out of the blocks. Coming off a 58-minute win over Emma Raducanu, Ostapenko needed just 30 minutes to race past Jabeur in the first set. That form continued until Ostapenko found herself serving for the win at 6-1, 5-4.
But Jabeur raised her level to reel off 11 of the next 13 points to earn a pair of set points at 6-5, 15-40. Ostapenko did well to save three set points and earned two points to force a tiebreak, but Jabeur finally closed out the set on her fourth set point to force a final set.
Having turned the momentum around, Jabeur took firm control in the third set. After breaking Ostapenko to lead 4-2, Jabeur saved a break point in her final service game to seal her sixth consecutive win after 2 hours and 3 minutes.