MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ons Jabeur hopes her success at the Australian Open will inspire other players from her region after the Tunisian first Arab woman to reach a quarter-final in the Grand Slam on Sunday.
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur celebrates during their game against China's Qiang Wang REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji
The 25-year-old delighted the spectators in the Margaret Court Arena with her diversity and strength and, with 29 winners, prevailed against the Chinese Wang Qiang in 77 minutes with 7: 6 (4) 6: 1.
"I try to inspire many young generations at home, either in Tunisia or in the Arab world, especially in Africa, which is amazing," she said. "It's not impossible. I did it."
Jabeur, who retired former world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the preliminary round, described herself as a "100% Tunisian product" that had refused the opportunity to train abroad to continue developing her game at home ,
"I got a lot of offers for college in the US – that wasn't an option for me," said Jabeur, who is ranked 78th worldwide.
"I really wanted to be a professional straight away. I knew that when I played in college, I couldn't play professional tournaments.
"We don't have much experience in Tunisia. But hopefully we can see more and more now."
Jabeur and Wang struggled with their serves at the start of the game and each lost an early break before the Tunisian discovered her reach and won the first set with a forehand winner in a tie break.
27-year-old Wang, who had defeated 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the third round, got stuck in the second set and had to take two breaks when Jabeur unbalanced her with the variety and speed of her shots held.
Jabeur crowned the victory in style, served love and ended with another forehand winner.
"The first set was a bit tricky because I started well, but then went down a bit and couldn't win my serve," said Jabeur.
“Obviously the second sentence was great for me. I was really relaxed … I'm glad I went through it. "
She next meets the American Sofia Kenin, who defeated her youthful compatriot Coco Gauff to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-finals.
Edited by Peter Rutherford