Australian Open: Jabeur advances to last 16, Anderson crashes out

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark embraces Ons Jabeur of Tunisia after their Women's Singles third round match on day five of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 24: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark embraces Ons Jabeur of Tunisia after their Women’s Singles third round match on day five of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur recorded another major victory in the Australian Open after she defeated 2018 champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in three sets in the third round early on Friday.

Jabeur overcame the former world number one 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 after two hours and seven minutes.

The world number 78 fired six aces and 43 winners compared to Wozniacki’s one ace and 9 winners. She, however, hit 60 unforced errors and served five double faults in a tense match at Melbourne Arena.

This is the first time Jabeur has progressed to the round of 16 at a Grand Slam following third round eliminations in the French Open and US Open.

“I’m really happy, especially here at this Grand Slam — usually, (at the Australian Open) I’d lose first round — but today I’m really happy that I made it through to the fourth round,” Jabeur said in a post-match interview.

Jabeur also paid tribute to Wozniacki, who had said that she would retire from professional tennis after the tournament in the wake of her diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis in 2018.

“I’m really happy that I played you. You are such an inspiration for me and many players, and I’m lucky enough to have been on tour with you,” Jabeur said.

“She’s a big player, and, I mean, I’m lucky enough to have played her already twice. Yeah, like I said in the interview at the end, she really inspired me.”

Jabeur will next play China’s Wang Qiang, conqueror of 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, in the fourth round on Sunday.

In the men’s draw, two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson of South Africa squandered a two-set lead to lose to American Taylor Fritz in five sets on Thursday.

Anderson went down 4-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 with the fourth and fifth sets cumulatively lasting less than an hour.

This was Anderson’s second tournament following a lengthy injury layoff since July 2019. He played in the inaugural ATP Cup.

Anderson’s exit means Africa has no representative in the men’s singles draw while Ons Jabeur is the only one in the women’s singles draw.

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