Ons Jabeur stormed into the final round of US Open qualifying, dropping just six games in her first two matches, and will take on Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru on Friday for a spot in the main draw.
The Tunisian, who turns 24 on Tuesday, took out American Kristie Ahn on Thursday 6-1, 6-2, to step closer to a third appearance in the US Open main draw. Last month, Jabeur became the first Arab woman since 2005 to win a match at Wimbledon when she took out Viktorija Golubic to reach the second round at the All England Club.
“I was playing my game, just trying to maintain. I had the image of playing in Wimbledon so it kind of helped me to make sure I was ready on my legs and I was here,” Jabeur told Sport360 of her qualifying second round at the US Open on Thursday.
“Today was a pretty good match, I was expecting a more difficult one. But since I was ready, I didn’t give her the chance to come back or to play her game. I’m very happy but I still have to be focused for tomorrow. It’s going to be a tricky match I’m sure but I’m going to give it my all and try to play like today and hopefully it’ll go well.”
Jabeur defeated Dulgheru easily in a $100k clay tournament in the south of France earlier this year but insists Friday will be a different story.
“I played her lately in Cagnes-Sur-Mer but it was clay, so it’s going to be a totally different match, especially that it’s on hard courts and she’s playing well lately. It’s qualifying for the main draw, so a lot of stress for both of us. But I’m going to try to do well and hopefully be ready for tomorrow,” Jabeur added.
With her eyes set firmly on a main draw berth, Jabeur couldn’t help but take a peek at the qualifying spots in the women’s draw, which was unveiled on Thursday afternoon, and admits a possible US Open first-round showdown with Maria Sharapova — who is drawn to face a qualifier in her opener — would be a real treat.
“It’s pretty interesting for me. It gives more motivation of course. I like the spots, there’s a pretty good chance and also exciting chances like the Sharapova one, it’s nice to have this draw. But for me I don’t want to skip the step for tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be thinking about this tomorrow afternoon,” said Jabeur.