Ons Jabeur overcomes scare to progress to Birmingham Classic quarterfinals

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BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Ons Jabeur of Tunisia celebrates victory over Leylah Fernandez of Canada during the Viking Classic Birmingham at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 17, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

World number 24 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia survived a scare to defeat Leylah Annie Fernandez on Thursday and advance to the quarterfinals of the WTA Birmingham Classic.

Jabeur won in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in just over two hours to set up a date with Russia’s Anastasia Potapova.

Ons Jabeur of Tunisia celebrates victory over Leylah Fernandez of Canada during the Viking Classic Birmingham at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 17, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

Jabeur broke Fernandez’s serve twice in the first three games to take a 3-0 lead but was then pegged back immediately as she dropped her own serve to make it 3-1.

However, the set then continued with serve and the Tunisian saved a break point and went on to convert her first set point to claim the first set 6-4.

The second set saw Fernandez break Jabeur’s serve in the fourth game to take a 4-1 lead and, with no further breaks of serve, she eventually closed it out 6-3.

The decider saw both players drop serve once in the first three games with Jabeur failing to convert two break points while leading 3-2. Both players would hold their nerves for the remainder of the set forcing it into a tiebreaker.

A topsy-turvy tiebreaker saw both players drop serve in the first two games, and Jabeur then bagged five consecutive points but failed to convert two match points.

The second seed would convert her third match point with a brilliant winner to win the tiebreaker 7-3 and clinch the set 7-6.

The 26-year-old will yet again be favourite going into the match against Potapova, who is ranked 58 places below her.

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