NEW YORK, NY, USA - Ons Jabeur claimed another statement victory in her breakout 2020 season, knocking out defending champion Madison Keys in straight sets to reach the third round at the Western & Southern Open.
Ranked at a career-high World No.39, Jabeur kicked off the year with a historic run at the Australian Open when she became the first Arab woman to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. She backed it up in the Middle East, reaching her first quarterfinal in Doha, and then seemed to pick up where she left off with another quarterfinal in Lexington.
Along the way, Jabeur collected three Top 20 wins, defeating Johanna Konta, Alison Riske and Karolina Pliskova. She added Keys’ name to that list on Monday night, employing her crafty game of slices and spins to great success as she claimed the victory 6-4, 6-1 in just 59 minutes.
“It was a really good match for me, I had to really play good and I served really good,” Jabeur told wtatennis.com.
“I’ve been waiting the whole day to play,” she added; Jabeur and Keys took the court close to 9:30 pm. “So I really wanted to not waste anything. I didn’t give her the chance to get her rhythm back. I know it was very difficult as a first match for her - luckily I played before [in Lexington].
“To be honest, I’m very, very proud of the way I played today.”
Jabeur didn’t face a break point across either set, and tallied five aces on a solid serving day against Keys. The Tunisian outgunned her big-hitting opponent with 14 winners to Keys’ 12, but kept her unforced error count to 17 while Keys racked up 29 of her own.
Into the third round, Jabeur will take on qualifier Christina McHale in her next match. The American defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1, 7-6(8) earlier in the day to advance.
“I’m just going to recover right now and hopefully I can be ready for tomorrow,” Jabeur said. “Christina is such a great player, so it’s going to be a difficult match. But I’ll be ready.”