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US Open qualifying: Ons Jabeur sets up final round against Alexandra Dulgheru

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.

Reem Abulleil 2018/08/24

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.

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