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Ons Jabeur becomes first African woman to reach US Open final

Anas Jaber overtook French Caroline Garcia to become the first African and Arab woman to reach the final of the US Open.

Tunisian tennis player Anas Jabeur has reached her second consecutive Grand Slam match, two months after playing at Wimbledon, where she hopes to add a major title to her list of groundbreaking achievements.

Jaber, who became the first African and Arab woman to reach a US Open final, beat Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-3 on Thursday at Flushing Meadows.

“I feel more real, to be honest with you, just to be in the final again. Now I probably know what to do,” said Jabeur after ending Garcia’s 13-match winning streak, seeded 17, at Wimbledon.

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Fifth seed Jabeur, 28, was runner-up at the All England Club in London in July and will now be the first African and Arab woman to play in the US Open final in the professional era, dating back to 1968.

After Wimbledon, [there was] “I feel really relieved that I can support my results,” Jaber said after a win that lasted barely more than an hour.

Since professional players were first accepted into the major tennis tournaments, no African or Arab woman had ever participated in a Grand Slam final until she did so at Wimbledon before losing to Elena Rybakina.

At the 2020 Australian Open, she became the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals of a major tournament. Last year, she was the first Arab player to enter the top ten in the men’s or women’s rankings and the first player to win the WTA title.

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“Definitely saying out loud what I want to do is part of me to make things happen,” said Jaber, who got to her knees and shrieked when the semi-final match ended on Thursday, then lay on her back.

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The Tunisian dominated Garcia from start to finish in a one-sided semi-final that took over an hour to complete.

“The hard court season started a little badly, but I am very happy that I made it to the finals here,” Jaber said.

Her victory extended her dominance over Garcia throughout her career, whom Jaber had beaten four times in the Grand Slam tournaments, and twice as a professional in the four before Thursday.

“I know she was playing great tennis and that puts a lot of pressure on you,” Jaber said. “It wasn’t easy for me but I was very prepared mentally.”

Garcia reached the last four on the back of a 13-game winning streak, which included a win at the Cincinnati Masters event.

But Jabeur ruthlessly dismantled Garcia’s dream of becoming the first French woman to win the US Open with a clinical victory.

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French later admitted that she struggled to deal with the pressures of the occasion.

“Obviously the nerves were there,” Garcia said. “Today I knew it was semi-finals, so you know what it brings you if you win and what you want to achieve. It’s a dream since I was a little girl.

“I tried as hard as I could. I kept fighting, and I kept striving for it, because I know it’s my way of doing things.”

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On Saturday, with a championship at stake, Jabeur will face top seed Iga Swiatek, who has grabbed his last four matches, and 16 of his last 20 points, to come back and defeat sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

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