(September 8, 2022) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur became the first African and Arab woman to reach the US Open final as she defeated No. 17 Caroline Garcia 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Jabeur has now reached the finals of two straight majors. She lost in the final of Wimbledon and is now in the final in New York.
The 28-year-old Jabeur is just the seventh female player to reach the final in Wimbledon and at the US Open in the same year since 2000 after Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Justine Henin, Vera Zvonareva and Angelique Kerber.
“Feels more real, to be honest with you, just to be in the final again. At Wimbledon, I was kind of just living the dream, and I couldn’t believe it,” Jabeur said after the match
Jabeur opened the match with a break of serve and broke Garcia’s serve a total of three times to capture the first set 6-1. It was a combination of slice and power for the Tunisian as she hit 6 aces in the first set and was 3 for 3 on break points during the 23-minute first set.
Jabeur continued her domination in the second set jumping out to a 3-1 lead, hold on for a 6-1, 6-3 win in 65 minutes.
Jabeur gave Garcia no pattern, no rhythm but plenty of slicing and dicing on her groundstrokes and power on her serve. The Tunisian, a fan of Andy Roddick, did her best imitation of the Hall of Famer hitting 8 aces and winning 81 percent of her first serve points.
I mean, great game for me, to be honest, Jabeur said in her news conference. “It was the plan to just follow my coach for the first time 100% (smiling). But it was good. He’s satisfied. He didn’t have nothing to say after the match.
“Just, yeah, I know she was very confident so I had to really impose my game from the beginning, and it was working very well until the end of the match.”
Jabeur’s win snapped Garcia’s 13-match win streak. Garcia was the hottest player of the summer, having won three tournaments, including Cincinnati.
Garcia said that stress got the better of her.
“Obviously nerves were there.” said the Frenchwoman. “I think it’s pretty normal. You know, when I started the tournament in my first round, I was stressed out already. Every match means a lot. You want to win every one of them.
“Obviously today I did know it was semifinals, so you know what it’s bringing you if you win and what you want to achieve. It’s a dream since I’m a little girl.
“Yeah, I mean, today, the beginning of the match was not great. Made a few mistakes in important points. The arms and the legs were not moving as great. Obviously for my game, if I’m a little bit slower or if I don’t go for my shot, mistakes can come very quickly.
“I try the best I could. I kept fighting, kept going for it, because I know it’s my way to do things. That’s what bring me so many victory in the last couple of months.
“I kept fighting for it, even if I was playing sometimes really bad. But it’s the way of thinking, and I’m going to keep going that way.”
By reaching the semifinals, Jabeur will move to No.3 in the rankings or No.2.
Jabeur will be playing No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the final. In the later match, the woman from Poland rallied from a set down, and from 4-2 down in the decider to beat Belarusian No. 6 Aryna Sabalenka 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach her first US Open final.
After the first set, the world No. 1 admitted that she regrouped after a taking a bathroom break. “I needed to get it together,” said the 21-year-old.
“I felt a huge difference between first set and last two. I’m pretty happy that I got my level of energy up a little bit.
“Yeah, Aryna made it difficult today, for sure. I felt like she was serving pretty solid. It was hard to come back in third, but I’m pretty happy that I did.”
“She was playing really, really good in the key moments,” said Sabalenka.
“She was just going for it. She was hitting every ball and, like, putting me under pressure and playing really aggressively.
“Especially, like, I gave her a lot of opportunities in the first few games. She, like, after she leads 2-Love, then she was just going for it and I was just trying to come back. There was less pressure on her, more pressure on me.
“She was playing aggressively, and I was trying to stay in the game, which was my mistake, I think. I should just go for it.”
Swiatek talked about her upcoming match against Jabeur:
“Well, I mean, there are a lot of challenges because she’s a really solid player and she’s second in the race right now. You know, Wimbledon final. She didn’t get points for that. But it shows how much progress she has done, you know.
“She has different game style than most of the players. She has a great touch. All these things mixed up, yeah, she’s just a tough opponent.
“That’s why probably our matches are, yeah, always kind of physical and really tight, even though the scores may be — I don’t know what was the score in Rome, but I remember it as a really tight match anyway, because there were a lot of ads, I think.
“Yeah, she’s just a tough opponent and fully deserves to be in the final. I think it’s going to be a great battle.”
More to follow….