Tunisian Onz Jabbar became the first African woman to reach the semi-finals of the US Open on Tuesday, while France’s Caroline Garcia dashed American teenager Coco Gauff’s hopes of reaching the last four.
Jabbar, the first African-born woman to reach a Wimbledon final and a notable maiden win in July, beat Australia’s Adjla Tomljanovic 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).
The 28-year-old will meet in the semifinals after the in-form 17th seed beat 18-year-old Gauff 6-3, 6-4 in another quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Tomljanovic landed in the quarterfinals after a run that included a third round win over Serena Williams. It was most likely the final singles match before retirement of his 23-time Grand Slam champion.
But the Croatian-born Australian’s fighting campaign came to a hard halt in front of dynamic fifth-seeded Jabeur, the Tunisian attacking from the start and never giving up.
Jabbar said he was infused with conviction after reaching the Wimbledon final, where he lost in three sets to Kazakhstan’s Jelena Rybakina.
“I believe in myself more,” said Jabbar. “After Wimbledon, I was very positive. I lost the final, but I knew I had the power to win a Grand Slam, and here I am in the semi-finals of the US Open.”
Jabbar is affectionately known by Tunisian fans as the ‘Minister of Happiness’. This is because of the joy her progress on her court has brought to her home country.
However, Jabbar admitted that her frustration got the better of her when she hit her racket several times in frustration after throwing up multiple service breaks in the second set.
“I think I’ll be fired from my job as Happiness Minister,” she joked.
“It’s hard to contain my frustration. I apologize for my behavior. I really wanted to stay calm, but my racket slipped out of my hand.”
– Sweet Caroline –
Tomljanovic admitted to being betrayed by an opponent she described as “cunning”.
“It’s very difficult to find where to go when she’s playing well,” Tomljanovic said. “I’m really impressed with her play.”
After winning the 2019 US Open and 2020 Australian Open, Jabbar will head into the semifinals against Garcia in an attempt to break her unbeaten record against the Frenchwoman.
Garcia reached the first Grand Slam semi-final of her career after a strong win over eventual American hope Gauff.
“My head is blank. I can’t explain how I feel,” Garcia said after the quarterfinals.
Garcia arrived in New York just after winning the Cincinnati Masters, and Tuesday’s win was her 13th consecutive singles victory.
The 28-year-old said she is thriving after regaining full fitness. She took a two-month break from tennis ahead of June’s French Open to recover from ankle problems. I took
“I was always playing very aggressively, but in the last few months I felt healthy again and was able to move and practice as I wanted,” Garcia said.
“Even if I’m not stressed, I just hit my shots. The way I improve is to move forward. I’m trying to get on that path.”
Gauff, meanwhile, was happy to reach her first U.S. Open quarterfinals, but admitted her campaign had been tinged with disappointment.
“It’s my first quarterfinal at the US Open, so I have a lot to be proud of. But I’m definitely disappointed,” she said.
“I think it inspires me to try harder. I feel like I know what I have to do.”