STUTTGART, Germany -- World No.9 Ons Jabeur snapped a five-match losing streak with a gritty effort at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Wednesday, beating Miami Open semifinalist Ekaterina Alexandrova 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) in the second round. 

After firing a forehand winner to seal the win, Jabeur turned to her boisterous box and pointed to her head. Her celebratory roar was cathartic. 

"I have thought about withdrawing from this tournament so many times because I couldn't take another loss," Jabeur told reporters. "You know, it was very, very difficult."

The victory over 16th-ranked Alexandrova was Jabeur's third win of the year and first since beating Emma Raducanu in Abu Dhabi. The victory was, by far, her best win of the season by ranking. Coming into Stuttgart she had not beaten a Top 100 player.

Jabeur was still managing a lingering knee injury when she started her season in January. The injury was nothing new. She has been playing with it since 2017. But she knew she was undercooked at the Australian Open and hoped she could play herself into form. Instead, she bowed out in the second round to Mirra Andreeva and aggravated the knee. It forced her to pull out of the WTA 1000s in Doha and Dubai. 

"I didn't expect that an injury could affect my mental so bad," Jabeur said. "It was affecting me, the knee was affecting me so bad and I didn't realize. I kept going and tried to play matches even though I knew I wasn't ready, and that didn't help with the level, losing basically against anyone on tour."

Finally pain-free for the clay season, Jabeur could not believe her luck in drawing Danielle Collins in her first match in Charleston. Jabeur said she was so bereft of confidence after Miami that she nearly pulled out of her own title defense.

"Her level of confidence was in the sky, and mine was trying to survive somehow," Jabeur said.

"I was, like, 'OK, you either be a coward, go back home and not face the reality of what's happening right now, or just go there, try everything.' You lose, you lose; you win, you win. And I lost again, obviously.

"But again, [I had] the same negative thoughts even though it was a really positive match against Collins. I'm the only one that got a set out of her."

"And again, I look at the draw [here] and I play Alexandrova, so I was like, God, stop testing me."

- Ons Jabeur

Jabeur's perseverance was rewarded on Wednesday. Facing down Alexandrova's devastating baseline game, which led her to a win against No.1 Iga Swiatek and No.5 Jessica Pegula three weeks ago in Miami, Jabeur admitted she didn't have much belief after losing the first set so quickly.

"I don't believe players that go, 'I always believe,'" Jabeur said. "I feel like it's my duty to be honest, for the next generation when they watch you, not to think that everything is perfect on the court. No, there are some tough moments, some up-and-downs, but the most important thing is that you give it all on the court."

A semifinalist in Stuttgart last year, Jabeur's victory earns her a Round of 16 match against Dubai champion Jasmine Paolini. The Italian dropped just one game in her 46-minute opener against her doubles partner, Sara Errani. Jabeur has won all four sets she's played against Paolini.

"I've got to say, definitely playing on clay really helps my knee a lot," Jabeur said. "I'm getting the movement much better. 

"So I think it's just a matter of matches and definitely more training and keep being patient, because I feel like that's the key for me right now."