Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur cruises into second round of Wimbledon

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur celebrates after defeating Sweden's Mirjam Bjorklund during their women's singles tennis match on day one of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur began her campaign for a maiden Grand Slam in earnest on Monday by defeating Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden in straight sets to advance to the second round of Wimbledon.

Jabeur won 6-1, 6-3 in less than one hour as the third seed shook off the disappointment of coming into the previous Grand Slam, the French Open, on a high only to crash out in the opening round.

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur celebrates after defeating Sweden’s Mirjam Bjorklund during their women’s singles tennis match on day one of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London. /CFP

Jabeur will face another qualifier Katarzyna Kawa of Poland in the second round on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old is brimming with confidence as she began the week at a new career-high ranking of world number two and had a steady preparation for the tournament having partnered American legend and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in a doubles event in Eastbourne.

Though Jabeur eventually withdrew from the tournament because of a knee injury, she showed no lasting effects as she cruised past Bjorklund.

Jabeur may have proven to be highly adept on all surfaces – her biggest title was won on clay – but for all her achievements, she is yet to progress past the quarterfinals of a Slam.

One quarterfinals appearance each at the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2020 and 2021, respectively, remain her best showings at Slams but, surely, she is likely to get chances to improve on that record.

Wimbledon realistically represents one of her best chances at capturing a Grand Slam as she is on record saying the grass surface is “one of the best courts” she likes playing on and the evidence backs her up.

Her maiden WTA title came at the Viking Classic Birmingham during the grass court season while her second title this season came at the Grass Court Championships in Berlin just over a week ago.

Whichever way one looks at it, the junior grand slam champion at Roland Garros in 2011 is also under no illusions about what her ultimate dream would be, stating that winning Wimbledon “would mean a lot”.

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)