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Jabeur on cusp of breakthrough win

The Tunisian meets a resurgent Daria Kasatkina for the title in Birmingham on Sunday

Ons Jabeur AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Ever since she won the junior Roland-Garros title as a 16-year-old in 2011, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur has been one of the most interesting players to watch on the WTA Tour, her love of the drop shot causing many a big name to start tearing their hair out in frustration.

Traditionally at her most comfortable on clay, the 26-year-old is into only her third career final, this time on grass, after she beat Britain’s Heather Watson 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday.

Ons Jabeur
AI / Reuters / Panoramic

“I tried to not waste my time on the court today to save energy as I knew it was going to be a long day,” said Jabeur, who also reached the doubles final with Ellen Perez. “I played really well in the morning and in the second match I just tried to give it my all and make sure I am ready for the final.”

The reward for Jabeur, now ranked 25, is a final against Daria Kasatkina, the Russian who is also more at home on clay, but who has won two of her four titles in 2021.

Kasatkina, who has stormed back up the rankings to No 35 after a difficult couple of years, beat American Coco Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-4, breaking to win the match after letting slip a 5-2 lead in the second set.

Kasatkina is showing the kind of form that took her to the world’s top 10 in 2018. “It was a tough two days – waiting yesterday was tough – and I am very happy to be in a grass court final for the first time and in Birmingham as well,” she said.

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