PARIS, France – Former French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky overpowered Ons Jabeur, putting together a comprehensive straight sets win to end the Tunisian’s dream run in the third round, 6-2, 6-2.
She’ll take on No.10 seed and 2002 finalist Venus Williams in the next round for a spot in the quarterfinals.
“I think there is something happening sometimes here on the court,” Bacsinszky said in her post-match press conference. “I cannot really explain, but there is this fire which is all the time burning and probably is maybe pushing me a little bit more. I don't know.
“But confidence-wise, definitely if you win some good wins like I did for these past three matches, it can, not only give me for this tournament but as well for the rest of the season, because for sure there is a French Open, but there is a lot more, as well, hopefully for me. And this one is not over.”
Jabeur, ranked World No.114, fell in the final round of qualifying but was given entry to the main draw as a lucky loser when another player withdrew. She made good on her second chance, powering past qualifier Ana Bogdan before scoring one of the biggest upsets of the tournament against No.6 seed Dominika Cibulkova, becoming the first Arab woman to reach the third round of any Grand Slam.
She was bidding to break the Top 100 for the first time in her career – and become the second Arab women ever to do so – but ran up against an in-form Bacsinszky, who reached the quarterfinals here last year and the semifinals in 2015.
Jabeur made a strong start against the Swiss and broke serve in the very first game, but that would turn out to be her only lead of the match after Bacsinszky got going.
Bacsinszky employed every inch of her clay court mastery to break straight back, and brought out her arsenal of tricky slices and spin to keep the pressure on the Tunisian. She finally broke through late in the set, reeling off four games in a row to safely close out the opening tilt.
Both players started the second pretty evenly matched, trading comfortable holds of serve for the first few games before Bacsinszky raised her level once again. She brought up two break points on the Tunisian’s serve – which she dodged with some strong first deliveries – before finally earning a break after a marathon sixth game gave her a 4-2 lead.
That seemed to be all Jabeur had left in the tank, as Bacsinszky snapped up the next six points to wrap up the match in an hour and eight minutes and make her way into the round of 16.
“I don't want people think that I won yesterday that today I gave up or something,” Jabeur explained in her post-match press conference. “I didn't want to do that. I just wanted to play my game, but I just physically wasn't ready. I played six matches, I think, and it's really long.”
“Physically, like, I couldn't find my legs today. I don't know where they gone. Maybe my sister played today. I'm not sure it was me,” she added with a laugh.