Ons Jabeur is back and very much ‘still alive’ as she holds off aggressive Jelena Ostapenko
The start of the 2023 season has been difficult for Ons Jabeur and she admitted that questioned whether or not she would regain her best form, but those concerns are starting to disappear as she has stretched her unbeaten run to seven matches.
Jabeur made a poor start to the campaign as she lost in the second round of the Australian Open and was then forced to skip the Middle East swing due to injury.
She made her return at the Sunshine Double, but lost in the third round of the Indian Wells Open and the second round of the Miami Open.
Unsurprisingly, the two-time Grand Slam winner had her doubts about the future.
“Sometimes I feel like, it’s okay, it’s meant to be that I don’t start great the year, the most important thing is I take care of my health, and everything happens for a reason, and whatever is meant to be to happen this year is going to happen as long as I give 100 percent and I follow whatever I need to follow,” the Tunisian told WTATennis.com.
“On the other side, it’s like, ‘Oh, the other girls are playing really well. Am I gonna come back to the same level or not?’ But I took the decision to play Indian Wells/Miami just to show that I’m back here and I’m still alive.”
And she is definitely still alive and kicking as she returned to form at the Charleston Open at the beginning of the April, beating the likes of Daria Kasatkina and Belinda Bencic to win her first title since June last year.
— Ons Jabeur (@Ons_Jabeur) April 19, 2023
“Charleston was honestly an unexpected title,” Jabeur said. “For me, I was taking it one step at a time. I was trying to find more motivation and just finding my rhythm on the court.
“I was very, very patient, even though sometimes it did not go my way. I know during practices I’m playing really well with other players, and now just will continue and do that. The key was for me to be patient and wait for my game to come back.”
And the former world No 2 is continuing her good form as she followed up the Charleston title with an excellent display against the red-hot Jelena Ostapenko in the second round of the Stuttgart Open, coming back from a dismal opening set to win 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“Definitely patience was one of the keys, but I think most importantly was accepting that she was doing great and hitting winners. After all, it’s her game,” the 28-year-old said. “For me, I was, like, okay, she cannot play like this the whole match. If she does, then she deserves to win, obviously.
“I just think, especially on the return games, the moment I stayed patient, the better that I played, especially just returning one ball and give it more spin. That’s where I think I was getting more and more rhythm.”
Jabeur will face either Beatrix Haddad Maia or Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina in the quarter-final while world No 1 Iga Swiatek is the projected semi-final opponent.
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