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Jabeur shocks Pliskova to storm into quarters

Jabeur shocks Pliskova to storm into quarters

Vinay Nayudu
Doha
In-form and determined, Ons Jabeur underlined her growing stature as she outclassed former champion and third seed Karolina Pliskova to make the quarter-finals of Qatar Total Open 2020 at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old displayed a sublime self despite cold and windy conditions being egged on the centre court by a large gathering of Tunisian fans.
Jabeur emerged a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 winner after a battle of one hour and 43 minutes.
Quite composed despite big celebrations by fans, Jabeur said, “It’s Amazing. Winning here in Qatar is always very special to me,” in her on-court interview before fans broke into a celebratory song not allowing her to complete.
Jabeur after a pause said, “This is tennis and not football but you all are still here. Thank You.”
Among the fans were also Jabeur’s parents and her mom could be seen clapping loudly when the player broke Pliskova for the first time in the final set.
Jabeur having traded a set was a picture of confidence in the final set breaking Pliskova in the 6th game to go up 4-2. The tall Czech player, who won the title here in 2017, broke back immediately to make it 4-3.
Jabeur nonetheless continued producing winners using the corners of the court beautifully to hold her serve and then break Pliskova again in the next to make it 5-3.
The final game was hardly an issue as Jabeur zoomed to a 40-15 lead before sending in a winner that mattered most.
The win saw the Tunisian, who recently played in the quarter-final of the Australian Open, make it to her first last eight stage of a Premier 5 tournament.
Jabeur meets another Czech, the No.8 seed and 2018 champion Petra Kvitova who earlier in the day wobbled in the wind before securing a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win over 2016 runner-up Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in exactly two hours.
Kvitova would have hoped that after taking the first set courtesy of winning six successive games she would not be so extended once more. Ostapenko, though, found her range to force a decider, which was comprehensively claimed by the higher-ranked player.
“There’s no chance to have tactics in this wind,” she said. “The wind changes everything. It’s difficult to put the serve in and she returned the second serve well. It was difficult from the first point. I lost to her in our last match, so I knew what to expect.”
In another upset, the unseeded Chinese Saisai Zheng took out number seven seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Fourth seeded Belinda Bencic (FRA), however, had no problems in progressing past Kazakh Yulia Putintseva while Belorussian Aryna Sabalenka beat Maria Sakkari of Greece in straight sets.
The tournament saw two unfortunate withdrawals of teen Elena Rybakina, who suffered an abductor injury, and of American teen Amanda Anisimova due to general illness.resultssingles
(Round of 16)
WC-Ons Jabeur (TUN) bt 3-Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
4-Belinda Bencic (SUI) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4, 6-3
8-Petra Kvitova (CZE) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-2, 5-7, 6-1
9-Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) bt 15-Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-3, 6-0
Saisai Zheng (CHN) bt 7-Kiki Bertens (NED) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) w/o Amanda Anisimova (US)
doubles
(Quater-finals)
6-J Ostapenko & G Dabrowski (CAN) bt 3-A Sabalenka (BLR) & E Mertens (BEL) 4-6, 6-1, 10-4
2-T Babos (HUN) & K Mladenovic (FRA) bt 5-N Melichar (US) & Y Xu (CHN) 6-3, 6-3
4-B Krejcikova & K Siniakova (CZE) bt C Buyukakcay (TUR) & L Siegemund (GER) 6-1, 6-2
1-S Hsieh (TPE) & B Strycova (CZE) bt B Bencic (SUI) & S Kenin (US) 6-4, 6-2.

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