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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday May 13, 2022

Move over Iga Swiatek, there is another double-digit win streak on the WTA Tour.

Ons Jabeur, reigning Madrid champion, stretched her current streak to 10 on Friday with an impressive comeback from the brink against Maria Sakkari. The Greek won 11 of the matches' first 14 games to lead 6-1, 5-2, but Jabeur flipped the script and won 11 of the final 14 to win 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 at the Foro Italico.

Tennis Express

The World No.7’s 24th victory over 2022 sets a semifinal clash with Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, who advanced with Jil Teichmann was forced to retire due to injury, down 6-4, 3-2 in the second set.

“In my head at 5-2 I said, You cannot finish those two weeks, those amazing almost three weeks, like this,” Jabeur said after her victory. “That's what got me started. I'm very happy that I could get the win at the end.”

In their first meeting since 2020, Jabeur improves to 2-1 lifetime over Sakkari, she says it was her confidence from her recent torrid run of form that helped her get through the match.

“It's not easy to play Maria, no?” she said. “I know she hits really hard. I couldn't find my rhythm at the beginning. But I'm glad with a little bit experience that I have, I could pull off the win. Today the match for me was mentally more than anything else. Physically I felt good. The fact that I have the confidence, I think that gave me the opportunity to win today.”

Jabeur - I have to go through this to be able to win a Grand Slam

As the first Arab woman to ever reach the Top-10 and win a 1000-level tournament, Jabeur has not been shy about her aspirations. She wants a lot more success than she has already achieved, and she believes that fighting through mental and physical fatigue a week after winning Madrid is part of the process to get there.

“Honestly I feel like I was playing better the other matches,” she said of her form this week at Rome, where she has won eight of nine sets. “Maybe today wasn't the best. Probably another test for me mentally, for sure.”

The Tunisian says it is important for her keep an elevated level week in and week out.

“To back up the performance from Madrid, it's very important for me,” she said. “Like I said, it's one of the reasons why I'm here, why I want to continue showing myself on the court. It's part of maybe the journey. I told you I want to win a Grand Slam, so maybe I have to go through this to be able to win one Grand Slam. For now I'm doing it right. Different test from each match. Hopefully I can still continue.

“Only two matches left. I want to give more than 100% and hopefully I will be ready.”

Jabeur owns a 3-2 lifetime edge against Kasatkina – the Tunisian has taken their last three meetings including one this season on clay in Stuttgart.

Jabeur improved to 16-2 on clay this season with her win on Friday, and 39-17 overall on clay.

Kasatkina has had an excellent week in Rome as well. She defeated No.2-seeded Paula Badosa 6-4 6-4 on Thursday, and has also taken out Tamara Zidansek, Leylah Fernandez and Teichmann.

The top-half semifinal will feature Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, with the Pole gunning for her 27th consecutive match win. Swiatek leads the head-to-head with Sabalenka at 2-1.


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