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Arab icon Jabeur banking on ‘romantic’ atmosphere in Paris to win first Grand Slam



Tunisia’s Jabeur became the first African and Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final last year

Casper Ruud continued his bid to reach back-to-back finals at the French Open by fending off Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in a 7-6(3) 7-5 7-5 fourth-round win on Monday as Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur also stayed on course for a maiden Grand Slam crown.


Ruud, who has only dropped two sets in four matches so far, faced a tricky test against lanky claycourt specialist Jarry but pulled through in three hours and 20 minutes as his opponent failed to make his chances count in the last two sets.

“If we had gone five sets I don’t know how long we would have played,” said Ruud on court Philippe Chatrier. “I have to thank my team for pushing me in practice. I did the work and physically I was ready for more.”


He next faces Dane Holger Rune who overcame Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 7-6 3-6 6-4 1-6 7-6 in a five-set epic.

Jabeur moved into the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the first time with a 6-3 6-1 win over American Bernarda Pera and hoped that the romantic atmosphere of Paris will help her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title.

“Paris is always romantic, day or night. Winning here will definitely be an amazing memory for me,” said Jabeur, who became the first African and Arab player to reach the quarters at each of the four majors in the Open Era.


The Tunisian had reached the Australian Open quarterfinal in 2020 and finished runner-up to Elena Rybakina and Iga Swiatek in the Wimbledon and US Open title clashes last year.

The 28-year-old is not getting complacent ahead of her clash with 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, who beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-7(3) 6-3 7-5 to become the first Brazilian woman since Maria Bueno in 1968 to make the quarterfinals of a major.

“For now, I just want to take it one match at a time,” added Jabeur. “I will have a very difficult quarterfinal. I was just taking it one match at a time, trying to make it to the second week. Now I’m going to push more for the next few matches.”


Haddad Maia became only the second Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in the Open Era after Bueno and she got there in three hours and 51 minutes — the longest women’s match of the tournament.

Russian Daria Kasatkina said she left the tournament with a sense of bitterness after being booed off by the crowd following her fourth-round defeat by Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina on Sunday.

“Leaving Paris with a very bitter feeling. All these days, after every match I’ve played in Paris I always appreciated and thanked the crowd for their support and being there for the players,” Kasatkina wrote on Twitter.

“But yesterday I was booed for just being respectful on my opponent’s position not to shake hands. Me and Elina showed respect to each other after a tough match but leaving the court like that was the worst part of yesterday.


“Be better, love each other. Don’t spread hate.”

Belarusian world number two Aryna Sabalenka, who has snubbed the media after being grilled about Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, can expect a hostile reception from the fickle Parisian crowd when she plays Svitolina on Tuesday.


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