Ons Jabeur set for major ranking dip as her US Open dream dies
Ons Jabeur has been battling physical issues throughout the US Open and now her dreams of glory at Flushing Meadows are over for another year.
China’s Zheng Qinwen thrashed the fifth seed and last year’s US Open runner-up 6-2, 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final, with a jaded Jabeur simply running out of gas.
“Right now I’m super happy and excited to play in a big stadium and have a really good performance,” said Zheng.
“Ons is a fantastic player, really tough to beat, and she has a lot of variation in her game. That was a really impressive win for me today.”
Jabeur was defending plenty of ranking points after her run to last year’s US Open final and she will now shed 1,060 points from her total.
That will leave the former world No 2 down in seventh place in the updated WTA Rankings when they are released next Monday.
Jabeur could slip even further in the rankings if Karolina Muchova continues her run in New York and Madison Keys will also be eyeing a rise in the rankings after she booked a quarter-final berth by beating No 3 seed Jesica Pegula on Monday.
The bigger concern for the Tunisian will be getting her fitness levels back to where they should be as she has struggled badly in New York.
Unable to practice between matches, she admitted the battles she had to make it through to the fourth round had taken a lot out of her and this gritty performer will hope to bounce back to finish the season on a high.
Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova moved a step closer to back-to-back grand slam titles by beating Peyton Stearns to reach the US Open quarter-finals.
The 24-year-old Czech, seeded ninth here two months after becoming the first unseeded woman to win at SW19, fell a set behind to Stearns.
But the American youngster, whose powerful forehand accounted for Britain’s Katie Boulter in round three, won just five more games as Vondrousova triumphed 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-2.
“She was playing great from the beginning and I just tried to stay in the game,” said Vondrousova.
“She is a very dangerous player, she has a great future ahead of her and it was a very tough match.
“I’m very happy. I didn’t expect this, after Wimbledon there was a lot of pressure but I’m feeling good and we’ll see what happens next.”
What happens next is a meeting with Madison Keys, a former Flushing Meadows runner-up who sprung a mild surprise against fellow American Jessica Pegula, the third seed.
Keys, seeded 17, is emulating the form that swept her to the final in 2017 and sunk the highly-fancied Pegula 6-1, 6-3.
The 28-year-old said: “It’s always tough having to play a friend but we’ve been doing it all our lives. On-court it’s all business but then we go back to being friends.”
Iga Swiatek’s surprise defeat on Sunday night means there will be a new women’s champion this year.
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