| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo Credit: Pete Staples/USTA

 

Entering this year’s U.S. Open, Ons Jabeur had never made it out of the third round here in New York. But on Thursday she will play for a spot in the U.S. Open final after dismissing Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 7-6(4) in her quarterfinal match on Tuesday afternoon. 

“It’s never easy to play Ajla. I knew I was coming to play a physical match,” said Jabeur, who becomes the first African woman to reach the final four at the U.S. Open in the Open Era. “It was a good first set, and was hoping to win more easy in the second set, but it’s me, you know, I just like the suspense. I like to take it to the tiebreak. But I’m glad that I got the win and hopefully will continue and play even better for the next matches.”

Jabeur first broke through in this match via a break of serve for 4-3 in the opener, and served it out two games later. In the second set, it was Tomljanovic who went ahead with a break and had a chance to serve for the set at 5-3.

But Jabeur broke at love to bring the set back on serve, and it eventually headed into a tiebreak. An unforced error on a backhand followed by a double-fault by Tomljanovic the only opening she needed in the breaker, and Jabeur would never relinquish the lead as she wrapped up in the match in straight sets. 

“The second set was very tough, especially with not serving very well. That didn’t help me to back up few breaks that I got,” said Jabeur. “When she broke me at 4-3, I was like, I should really stay focused, and if I get angry, it’s not going to do me very well. It was a successful game. I think I just won one game at that time with my serve, and I was like, you have to really just fight for it.”

Jabeur will look to make it back-to-back Slam finals when she plays France’s Caroline Garcia on Thursday night. Garcia continued her fantastic 2022 campaign as she powered her way past young American Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-4 in the opening Night Session match on Tuesday.

“I don’t know how to describe it. It’s crazy,” Garcia said afterwards. “The atmosphere was very, very strong. Obviously to play an American here is like crazy energy. My head is just buzzing.”

Garcia’s big-hitting kept Gauff off balance throughout the one hour and 37 minutes match. She quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set and never really looked back. Even after Gauff was able to snag back one of the breaks, Garcia finished the set on serve, and broke Gauff early in the second to halt any ideas of a comeback.

Caroline Garcia celebrates during her straight-sets win over Coco Gauff on Tuesday night. (Photo Credit: Simon Bruty/USTA)

In all, Garcia hit 24 winners and won 78 percent of the points on her first serve. The Frenchwoman, who came into the U.S. Open fresh off of her title in Cincinnati, is in the first major semifinal of her career.

“I’m supper happy about the win, to be in the semifinals,” she said. “It was a very intense match. Every point, every game was really tough. The atmosphere was really American with a lot of energy out there. I’m just very happy with the performance today, to manage the emotion in my game. I’ve been able to play my game and that’s very important for me.”