(October 14, 2021) INDIAN WELLS, California – Ons Jabeur of Tunisia on Monday will become the first Arab player to reach the Top 10 on either tour. The 12th seed Jabeur defeated Anett Kontaveit 7-5, 6-3 to move into the final four of the BNP Paribas Open, her first t WTA 1000 semifinal. Her win on Thursday was her 48th main-draw match win, which leads the WTA Tour this season.
“Feels amazing,” Jabeur said about reaching the Top 10. “We’ve been working hard for years. The end of last season I said I wanted to be in top 10. It means a lot, but we’re not going to stop here and go further hopefully.”
“I’m proving more things and now that I’m a top-10 player, I need to be more solid.”
“Honestly a great match, great fight. Always tough to play against Anett. I tried to play my game little bit, but she knows me so well. It was kind of tough to kind of execute those dropshots.
“I’m pretty glad that I stayed calm when I needed to be. It was very stressful at the end. But I’m glad that I got the win and looking forward to play. Why not get the title here?”
“To be honest, I wasn’t looking at the ranking. I was looking more at the race at the beginning of the tournament. Like this is a dream coming true. This is something that I’ve been wanting, like you said, maybe you knew me when I was 16. Even before, I always wanted to get there, to be No. 1 in the world.
“Top 10 I know is the beginning. I know I deserve this place from a long time since I was playing well. But I want to prove that I deserve to be here, I deserve to be one of the top 10 players.
“There is a lot of things that I need to improve. I’m very happy, a lot of emotions right now, but I’m still in competition so I’m trying to calm down and not overthink about top 10. Probably will celebrate after the tournament.
“Yeah, I just believed in myself, I worked hard, and this is just the beginning of great things.”
Jabeur will be playing against Paula Badosa of Spain on Friday for a spot in the final. The Spaniard, making her tournament debut, knocked out 10th seed and three-time major winner Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5 during the Thursday evening session. Kerber became Badosa’s third seeded victim at Indian Wells. Badosa also took out No. 5 seed Barbora Krejicova and No. 19 Coco Gauff.
“Yeah, was a really tough one,” Badosa said. “I never played her so at the beginning was a little bit surprising for me, her game. As I said, I never played her. I needed some games to adapt.
“I think I played quite good and I adapt to her game quite well as well. I fight until the last point. It was very tough but I’m very happy that I could get the win.”
“The second set was really tough for me. I got very nervous. But I think she raise her level a lot at 5-2. Then at 5-All I didn’t have another chance, so I said, Now or never. I started to play very good again. I got the win.
“But, yeah, was tough mentally at that moment because I was 5-2 up, a lot of thoughts coming through my mind, and I could get through it, so I’m happy.”
Badosa on playing friend Jabeur: “Yeah, she’s very tricky and she’s very talented. I always said she’s one of the most talented players in the world. She’s doing an amazing year. Of course, she’s another good friend of me. It’s nice seeing all these players that we were like a few years ago outside the top hundred now being top 10, top 20, fighting for the finals. It’s amazing. I’m super happy and I’m happy that I can play her.”
“Paula plays really good,” Jabeur said. “She’s an aggressive player. She had such a great matches, great wins against Gauff, Pliskova. It’s unbelievable what she’s doing right now. She’s a tough player. If she wins, it’s going to be a very tough match.”
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria backed up his upset win over the top seed Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2) win over No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz to reach the semifinals.
“I was clearly not at my strongest, but I felt throughout the whole time I was able to do something with the ball even when I was tired,” The 23rd seed Dimitrov said. “That really made a big difference.”
I was his 100th match-win at a Masters 1000 level event.
“He served amazing,” the 2017 ATP Finals winner said. “I even told him after the match at the net. I think he’s improved amazingly on the serve. At some point I had to even guess where he’s going to go. I think that’s one of the things.
“I mean, he’s such a nice guy. It’s so nice to, like, have him on tour. Always very friendly, very easy to talk to. We’ve hit quite a few times against each other in Monaco. We have very friendly vibes all in all, which is great.
“Yeah, today was I think more of a mental match I would say for both of us. He knew that I didn’t have that much, like, energy in me. He absolutely knew that. I knew that, as well. But I was really able to use a lot of the important points into my favor. Of course, a bit of luck as well with that net call on a set point.
“What can I say? Even at 5-3 I couldn’t close the match. Yes, I was clearly not at my strongest, but I felt throughout the whole time I was able to do something with the ball even when I was tired. I think that really made a big difference.
“He won quite a few battles throughout the whole match. When it really came down to the wire, I really executed it well and I did the right things.”
Cameron Norrie can now claim to be the highest ranked British male player as of Monday after dominating 11th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-2 in his quarterfinal match. Norrie needed only 73 minutes for the victory, which he called the biggest match of his career. This will be his first Masters 1000 level final four.
“It was never really a goal of mine, but it’s definitely a great bonus to be British number one,” Norrie said. “I want to keep pushing. I’ve got a lot of things to improve on, but I think it’s one of those things you’ve got to enjoy.”
He has now won a career best 45 matches this year.
“Definitely my biggest match of my career probably leading in,” Norrie said. Honestly out there, once the match begun, I was feeling very relaxed, and I was very in the present. I wasn’t really thinking too much and just going out and playing just like another match.
Definitely more relaxed than all my other matches I have played this week, so I was very happy with how I handled everything.
Looking ahead to his next opponent Cam Norrie, Dimitrov said: “Obviously he’s been doing very good this year. He’s been having great results. Of course, it’s not going to be an easy match. That goes without saying.
“Every day, honestly, is very different out here. Like, for example, today the ball was jumping a little bit more for some reason. Why? I cannot explain. But I think not one day is the same, especially out here in the desert.
“I’m really going to focus on my side of the net and try to build up a plan that I think could be the winning one. Of course, just focus on that, not much else.”
All photos by Chad Lominick @CCSnaps13 on Twitter.
More to follow….