Jabeur perfect against Garcia as rivalry continues from juniors into US Open semi-finals

The rivalry between Ons Jabeur and Caroline Garcia goes back to their junior days. It will continue in the US Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Ons Jabeur at the 2022 US Open in New York Ons Jabeur at the 2022 US Open in New York Image Credit: AI/ Reuters/ Panoramic

It will be Ons Jabeur against Carolina Garcia in the US Open semi-finals after they won their respective quarter-final contests. After Jabeur ended the run of Ajla Tomljanovic on Tuesday afternoon, Garcia kept up her hot streak by beating Coco Gauff.

Jabeur and Garcia have faced each other only twice on the pro tour, but their rivalry is far more extensive than Jabeur’s 2-0 record suggests. The Tunisian actually leads their head-to-head series 6-0 overall, having won all four of their junior encounters.

They first met at the 2010 French Open, where Jabeur cruised 6-3, 6-3 in the second round. At Wimbledon a few weeks later it was a similar 6-2, 6-2 result. Jabeur completed the 2010 trifecta with a 6-2, 6-4 quarter-final victory over the Frenchwoman at the US Open. They also collided once in 2011, when a Roland-Garros rematch went Jabeur’s way again even though Garcia finally managed to take a set in the semi-finals (6-2, 1-6, 6-2).

I’m happy for her that she’s back where she belongs.

Ons Jabeur

The two competitors have an off-the-court link, as well. Bertrand Perret, who is Garcia’s coach, used to work with Jabeur (the recent Wimbledon runner-up is now with Issam Jellali).

“We go way back, from juniors,” Jabeur noted. “Honestly I’m happy for her that she’s back where she belongs. Also, she’s working with Bertrand; he was my coach before Issam. I’m just happy for them in general.

“I know she plays really aggressive, and a tough game. So whoever is going to be able to impose her game is going to be in better form. So I will try to play my game. I will try to be me. Hopefully it’s going to be a great match for both of us.”

“It was really a challenge for me to play her in juniors,” Garcia reflected. “Yeah, a few times she stopped me on my way to get a slam in juniors. It’s fun to see two players again in (a) semi-final in (the) US Open. It’s a great challenge for my game, for me. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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