MOSCOW, Russia - Ons Jabeur's history-making week at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow continued on Friday, as the Tunisian booked a spot in her first career WTA final with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over No.5 seed Anastasija Sevastova.
Already the first woman from her country to make a WTA semifinal, Jabeur went one better with a one hour and 38-minute victory over the Latvian No.1 in the first semifinal.
Behind 45 winners and five breaks of serve, the qualifier secured a seventh victory in front of raucous support this week, rallying from a break down twice in the final set to seal a third victory over a seeded player at the Premier-level event.
"This is really amazing and I'm really happy. I gave it all today, and it wasn't easy becasue she plays really good. I'm really happy that that Tunisians are here. They helped me through the end of the match because it was a little bit difficult," Jabeur said after the match.
"I played a very good first set, especially coming down from a break. I'm really happy that I could control myself, especially at the end of the third set, which was the key to win this match. I hope I can still stay like this and win the last match."
— WTA (@WTA) October 19, 2018
Playing with intention for over 90 minutes, Jabeur won 80 percent of points behind her first serve, and 18 of 23 points when she ventured to net, using her patented brand of aggressive baseline tennis and deft dropshots to great effect.
The World No.101 also trailed by an early break in the first set, as she dropped her serve in the opening game but hit back to love immediately before securing the deciding break in the sixth game.
In the second set, Sevastova saved two break points in the opening game, and it was the Latvian who flipped the opener by securing a love break of Jabeur's serve in the sixth game en route to sending the match the distance.
"I wasn't that tired, I just didn't have [things] click to move better," Jabeur said of her second-set lapse, where she struck 17 of her 43 unforced errors for the match and won just 31 percent of points behind her second set.
"Maybe I was too relaxed in the second set. At the end, I stayed calm. It was a little bit frustrating because I missed some easy balls, but I said I was just going to play my game, and if it goes, it goes."
In the decider, Jabeur dropped serve in the first and fifth games, but hit back right away for parity, as she won the last 16 of 18 points played in the match.
She sprinted into the final by earning the deciding break to love in the eighth game, and held to love to seal the win and become the first qualifier to ever reach the final at the event.
"I didn't know that this was the first time that a qualifier makes the final here for the Premier-level event, but I'm really happy," she said. "I have a great crowd with me...and hopefully, I can continue to continue to play like this."
The Tunisian has lost both of her career meeting against her potential final foes in Johanna Konta and Daria Kasatkina, losing to the Brit in the qualifying of the Apia International in Sydney in 2015, and to the Russian from a set up at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
"They're both playing good, so I hope they fight for four hours," Jabeur said with a laugh. "The best win is that the Tunisians are in a final."