Remarkable fight puts Jabeur in Italian Open semis | Tennis News
Tunisian Jabeur made history last weekend by winning in Madrid to become the first Arab or African player to win a WTA 1000 title and roar with delight after a magnificent victory in Rome.
The 27-year-old looked certain to leave after being hammered by world number four Sakkari in the first set and losing 5-2 in the second.
Greece’s Sakkari was serving for what seemed like a routine victory, but out of nowhere Jabeur pushed back, breaking serve in the eighth game before winning the next seven to go three ahead in the third set, a lead she never gave up.
In the last four, Jabeur will face Jil Tiechmann or Daria Kasatkina, who will play the final quarter-final on center court later on Friday.
Earlier, Iga Swiatek extended her winning streak to 26 matches after a straight-sets victory over Bianca Andreescu, 7-6 (7/2), 6-0.
Swiatek, the defending champion in Rome, is aiming for a fifth consecutive tournament victory and showed why she is the favorite for French Open later this month against Canada’s Andreescu.
The world number one will face Aryna Sabalenka in the women’s semi-final after the third seed defeated Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Belarusian Sabalenka beat Anisimova for the first time in five attempts after the American ended her Madrid title defense in the first round late last month.
Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the men’s semi-finals beating hometown hero Jannick Sinner 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 in a clash that was stopped for more than 10 minutes at match point after a spectator was get sick.
World number five Tsitsipas has already won the Monte Carlo Masters on clay and reached the last four in impressive style against Italy’s Sinner, who was playing his first-ever quarter-final in Rome.
Next, Tsitsipas will face Alexander Zverev, who reached the semi-finals after comfortably beating Cristian Garin, the only unranked player remaining in the tournament, 7-5, 6-2.
It will be the third time in the space of a month that the German will meet the Greek in the last four, with the duo sharing the honors of the clashes in Monte Carlo and Madrid.
“He is one of the most difficult players to face on the circuit. I have a lot of respect for him because he has achieved a lot in our sport,” said Tsitsipas of Zverev.
Tsitsipas was about to seal his victory when someone in the crowd appeared to collapse and play was stopped amid loud whistles directed at the referee who wanted to continue.
What seemed like an age passed before the spectator was stretched out of center court and Tsitsipas could finally serve his match point, and a single pass from Sinner’s mistimed shot sent him through .
“I’ve had these situations in the past. The important thing is to stay in your element,” added Tsitsipas.
Tsitsipas will take fourth place in the world rankings on Monday following Rafael Nadal’s shock third-round exit at the hands of Denis Shapovalov on Thursday night.
Shapovalov’s run ended in a 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 loss to Casper Ruud, who will face Novak Djokovic if the Serb beats Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the final game of the day.
Djkokovic must beat Auger-Aliassime to retain top spot in the world rankings, a position he has held for a record 369 weeks.