Ons Jabeur after reaching Wimbledon quarter-final: ‘I really want the title’

Ons Jabeur celebrates

Trailblazer Ons Jabeur is looking to continue her streak on grass at Wimbledon as she has set her sights on the Venus Rosewater Dish.

The Tunisian took her record to 9-0 on grass this year as she held off Elise Mertens 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 in the fourth round at SW19 on the Middle Sunday. While it was her toughest match to date at the grass-court major, she made it four straight wins without dropping a set.

The third seed, the highest-ranked player left in the draw following the exits of Iga Swiatek and Anett Kontaveit, has been on the rise for the past two years and has been steadily ticking things off her to-do list.

This year she became the first African and Arab player to win a WTA 1000 title and is also sitting at a career-best No 2 in the WTA Rankings.

Now that she has reached back-to-back quarter-finals at Wimbledon, Jabeur wants to go all the way.

“Not easy to play anyone on grass, especially with my position, everybody wants to grab the win,” the 27-year-old, who will face Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova next, said.

“I’m just very positive about what I want to do. I have my goals very high for this tournament, so I’m going to keep doing that. No matter who’s coming, I’m going to build the fight, I’m going to fight till the end because I really want the title.”

She added: “Hopefully I can continue the [9-0] streak. I love playing on grass. I love the connection between nature and me. Hopefully it can continue to the final.”

Her tussle against 24th seed Mertens was far from easy with the first set lasting more than an hour. The match started with three consecutive breaks as the Belgian held a 4-2 advantage, but Jabeur drew level in game eight and then edged the tie-breaker after saving five set points.

After trading breaks early in the second set, the Tunisian claimed the crucial break in game 10 and sealed the victory on her first match point.

“The match was both [stressful and enjoyable],” she said. “Mertens is a great opponent; it’s never easy to play her. I had to dig deep in the tie-break. I couldn’t imagine myself playing three sets against her.

“It [being unbeaten on grass, after winning her only warm-up tournament in Berlin] is good. Preparing on grass is always amazing; I try to have fun. I try to play a little bit of football on the field.”