Ons Jabeur joined the Australian OpenHall of Famer post-game interview after a hilarious slip of the tongue after her win Tuesday night. World #2 was given a slight scare when I scored a 7-6 (10-8) 4-6 6-1 win over Tamara Zidancic.
The Tunisian star was suffering from heavy taping on her right knee and had to save three points before taking the opener in a tiebreaker. Then she lost the second set before winning the deciding set.
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The 28-year-old Jabeur won the third set in just 28 minutes. At one point, she won six matches in a row and secured her place in the second round.
“It was a very difficult match. I didn’t play well and she was putting a lot of pressure on me,” Jaber said in her on-court interview. “I know she’s a player who doesn’t give up and gets every ball, so I felt really frustrated but I’m glad I let her go in the second set. I just told myself to be number 2 in the world just win this match.”
When asked how she would recover from her second-round match, Jaber had the crowd in stitches with an accidental Class X foul. “Ice baths and I’m going to get my husband to work tonight… lots of massages and a good recovery.”
After the fans burst into laughter, World No. 2 said with a coy smile, “Massage guys, massage. For those who don’t know my husband is also my fitness trainer and does everything for me.”
Karim Kammoun, Jaber’s husband, has been by her side for several years, both in tennis and in their personal lives. He helped her rise to the top of women’s tennis, with Jabeur reaching the final at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
Her hilarious gaffes on Tuesday night had fans recalling other unfortunate post-match incidents at the Australian Open, including Daria Gavrilova accidentally saying she was “good from behind” and Rafa Nadal lands in hot water with his wife When he says she “won a wildcard” to come and watch him play.
Ons Jabeur joins the big guns in the second round at the Open
Jaber’s victory came after fellow greats Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka earlier won in straight sets. Sabalenka continued her unbeaten start to 2023 with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Czech Teresa Martinkova, while Garcia crushed Canada’s Kathryn Sepov 6-3, 6-0.
Belarusian superstar Sabalenka is chasing an elusive first Grand Slam title. It was unable to play under its national flag due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Tennis Australia announced on Tuesday that the Russian and Belarusian flags have been completely banned from Melbourne Park, including in the stands. “I really thought that like tennis — not tennis, just sports — it has nothing to do with politics,” Sabalenka said.
“But if everyone feels better that way, that’s fine. I mean, I have no control over that. What can I say?”
Sabalenka will play American Shelby Rogers in the second round, while Garcia will face 2021 US Open Canadian Open runner-up Laila Fernandez. Garcia beat Sabalenka to win the WTA Finals last year.
“First round Grand Slam of the year, I really wasn’t expecting to come here as the No. 4 seed. So I’m so grateful to be playing at Rod Laver Arena — it’s my first win here so I’m very happy,” she said.
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