Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur became the first Arab player to reach a Masters final after beating Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-3 in the semi-final in Madrid on Thursday.
The eighth-seeded Jabeur made history last year when in October she became the first Arab player to reach the top 10 in the world tennis rankings.
Alexandrova held a 6-1 head-to-head record against eighth seed Jabeur, but it was the Tunisian who showed skill and impeccable ground coverage to gain the upper hand in qualification.
“I felt like I was sick of losing to her all the time. So I came here to get my revenge,” Jabeur said in a post-match interview.
“I feel like this tournament is a revenge tournament, every game. I’m very happy with my performance. I know she’s playing very well, so I tried to really set my pace. I’m very happy with the level I played today.”
The pair traded breaks in the first set but Jabeur stepped up to break Alexandrova at 3-2, breaking with a lob to the net.
Jabeur won their last clash in just 61 minutes and now awaits the winner of the second semi-final between Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann and American Jessica Pegula for Saturday’s summit clash.
“I really hope they play five hours and get tired,” Jabeur said with a laugh.
“I’m just going to focus on myself, it’s been tough losing a few finals lately. I’m going to do my best and give my all for this one.”
(with contributions from Reuters)