Jabeur pulls off Rome comeback over Sakkari for 10th straight win

No.9 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia mounted a successful comeback to reach her first Internazionali BNL d’Italia semifinal, ousting No.4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 1-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Last week’s Madrid champion Jabeur was down 6-1, 5-2 before she turned the match around to claim her tenth straight match-win.

Jabeur racking up wins: At multiple times in the second set, Jabeur was two points away from seeing her career-best winning streak come to a close. However, the Tunisian methodically steered her way back to a victory in just over two hours of play.

Jabeur maintains her position as the tour-level clay-court win leader this season, with 16 victories on the surface so far in 2022. Along with her first WTA 1000 title in Madrid, Jabeur also reached the Charleston final and the Stuttgart quarterfinals.

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Including all surfaces, Jabeur has won 24 tour-level matches this season, which is the second-most on tour. World No.1 Iga Swiatek has won the most matches on tour this year, with 33.

Top 10 showdown: Jabeur edged to a 2-1 lead in her head-to-head with Sakkari. Jabeur had won an ITF Challenger meeting between them in 2015, but Sakkari exacted revenge at 2020 Ostrava.

Jabeur turned the rivalry back in her favor by winning nearly 70 percent of her first-service points and converting six of her 12 break points on Friday. Despite having 11 more unforced errors than Sakkari, Jabeur doubled Sakkari’s winner count by 28 to 14.

Sakkari served splendidly in the first set, staving off a handful of Jabeur passing winners. Sakkari won 74 percent of her service points and fended off the lone break point she faced in the opening set. Sakkari charged to 5-2 in the second set as well, edging closer to the win.

Jabeur clawed one break back when Sakkari served for the match at 5-2, and she then broke Sakkari’s serve for a second straight time with a drop volley winner, leveling the set at 5-5. A winning forehand pass on Jabeur’s first set point at 6-5 gave the Tunisian a fifth straight game and the set.

With the momentum in her favor, Jabeur zoomed to a 5-1 lead in the third set. Jabeur only needed a single match point in that game to complete the tremendous comeback after Sakkari fired a service return wide.

More to come….

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