Ons Jabeur fought back from one set down to reach her first grand slam semi-final in impressive fashion, beating Marie Bouzkova 3-6 6-1 6-1 in the pair's Wimbledon quarter-final contest.

The second seed recovered from an error-strewn start on Centre Court to see off the 23-year-old Czech in quick time, recording her 10th consecutive grass-court win and her 21st victory in her last 23 outings. 

Jabeur also became just the second African player to reach the final four at Wimbledon in the Open Era, and the first since Yvonne Vermaak in 1983, after dominating the last two sets.

Bouzkova, whose second-round exits in each of 2022's previous slams represented her previous best major performances, showed no signs of nerves when breaking in just the fifth game of the opener.

Jabeur's frustrating start eventually saw her succumb to a second break, dropping the first set, when she followed a double fault with two errors 41 minutes in, but she stepped up in remarkable fashion to take the match away from her opponent thereafter.

The world number two needed just over half an hour to take the second set 6-1 before forcing Bouzkova into a decisive backhand error to claim an early break in the decider.

That was the first of three successive breaks for the Tunisian, who hit a powerful backhand to go 4-0 up in the third before doing likewise after Bouzkova managed to hit back with a break of her own.

Jabeur then confidently served out the contest to love, and after setting up a last-four clash with world number 103 Tatjana Maria, will be widely considered the favourite to clinch the title.

Data Slam: In-form Jabeur demonstrates grand slam credentials 

When Iga Swiatek was dumped out by Alize Cornet in the third round on Saturday, most onlookers immediately looked to Jabeur as the new favourite to take the Wimbledon crown.

After a shaky start, Jabeur lived up to that billing with an imposing performance in the last eight. Only Swiatek (44) has posted more wins than Jabeur's 35 on the WTA Tour this year, while no female player can match her tally of 83 wins since the start of the 2021 campaign.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

- Bouzkova 14/17

- Jabeur 30/27

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

- Bouzkova 0/1

- Jabeur 0/2

BREAK POINTS WON

- Bouzkova 3/5

- Jabeur 6/9

Ons Jabeur urged the youth of Africa to believe they can make it all the way to Wimbledon as the Tunisian booked her place in the quarter-finals for a second successive year.

The 27-year-old is the new title favourite, following Iga Swiatek's third-round exit, as she chases a maiden grand slam title.

Jabeur was made to work hard for a 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 victory over Belgian Elise Mertens on Sunday, but she has still yet to drop a set.

Next for Jabeur is Czech player Marie Bouzkova, the world number 66, and she is relishing her role as a trailblazer for African and Arab women.

"I enjoy sometimes failing and succeeding after. It's amazing," Jabeur said. "I wish I could really give the message to the young generation, not just from my country but from the African continent.

"I want to see more players here, I want them to believe more in themselves and believe that they can be here. I don't come from a rich family, so you have to really stop finding excuses and go for it, just be yourself and enjoy playing tennis."

World number two Jabeur is the only Tunisian ranked inside the WTA top 700. This is her fifth Wimbledon, and last year's run to the last eight was her best performance at that point, with Aryna Sabalenka preventing her going any further.

Now she has the title in her sights.

"It's amazing to be here and hopefully I can continue," she said in an on-court interview. "I love playing on grass. I love the connection between nature and me, so hopefully it will continue this way for me and maybe through to the finals."

Mertens beat former champion Angelique Kerber in round three, and against Jabeur on Court One she battled from an early 3-1 deficit to force the opening-set tie-break.

It was exhilarating at that point, and Jabeur was relieved to win the breaker, fearing she might not have the wherewithal to come back from dropping the set.

Mertens beat Jabeur in round three at the US Open last year, so the threat she posed was clear.

"She's a great opponent really. It's never easy to play her, and I had to dig deep, very deep, in the tie-break," Jabeur said. "I couldn't imagine myself playing three sets against her."

Ons Jabeur targeted becoming world number one after making a confident start to her Wimbledon bid, having required just 53 minutes to record a straight-sets win over Mirjam Bjorklund.

Jabeur, who became world number two on Monday – the highest ranking ever achieved by an African player on either the WTA or ATP tour – raced to a 6-1 6-3 first-round victory on No. 1 Court.

The Tunisian, who prepared for her Wimbledon campaign by winning the German Open earlier this month and playing doubles with Serena Williams at the Eastbourne International, will face Katarzyna Kawa in the second round on Wednesday. 

Ranking points are not on offer at the All England Club due to Russian and Belarusian players being banned, but Jabeur is already looking further ahead, declaring after her opener that becoming the world's top female player this year was her aim.

Asked whether she was hopeful of bettering her run to the last eight in SW19 last year, Jabeur said: "Yes, for sure, especially [after] today I achieved my highest ranking.

"It's really amazing to be here, to come back to Wimbledon, to play on one of the greatest surfaces that I like, especially one that loves my drop shots and my slices, so I'm happy to be back and hopefully I'll go further than the quarter-finals.

"It's a great start for me. I want to go as far as I can this tournament and dropping four games is a start.

"In the beginning of the season, I was like number 10 or number nine, and I said, 'I belong in this ranking and I don't feel I deserve to be five or four'.

"Now I feel like I deserve it even more. I feel like I won matches to prove myself on this level.

"I do feel more confident. I do feel like I deserve to be on this level. Hopefully next step will be number one."

Serena Williams stands every chance of going on a winning run at Wimbledon, according to Ons Jabeur, who would love to meet the 23-time grand slam champion in the final.

Williams teamed up with Jabeur to play doubles at the Eastbourne International in the past week, the American's first competitive tennis since being forced to retire from a first-round clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Wimbledon last year.

Seven-time Wimbledon singles queen Williams has not won a grand slam since 2017's Australian Open, and has lost two finals at SW19 during the drought, to Angelique Kerber in 2018 and Simona Halep in 2019.

Third seed Jabeur expects the 40-year-old WTA superstar to give a positive account of herself when she gets her Wimbledon campaign under way against Harmony Tan on Tuesday.

"I feel Serena was playing well and moving well. I think she can win matches at Wimbledon," Jabeur said in a BBC Sport column.

"We were put in opposite sides of the draw so that means we couldn't play until the final. That's okay - I'll send her to Iga Swiatek's half instead and leave the possibility of those two great players facing each other.

"I, for sure, didn't want to play her in the first round. You don't want to play Serena, especially at Wimbledon. But if it did happen then it would be amazing to play her and that would add another thing to the dream list for me."

 

Jabeur gets her own campaign under way when she faces Sweden's Mirjam Bjorklund on Monday, and believes the confidence gained from playing alongside Williams could prove crucial in her bid for a first title at this level.

"Playing with Serena Williams in the doubles at Eastbourne last week was an unbelievable experience and one which gives me added confidence as I try my best to win my first grand slam title at Wimbledon," Jabeur said.

"If she sees me as a great player and looks at me in that way then I can see myself that way, too."

Jabeur has never played a singles match against Williams, but having the chance to star alongside her surpassed that, allowing the Tunisian to get an insight into the mind of the great champion.

"The whole experience means I feel like I am the luckiest player in the world," said 27-year-old Jabeur.

When Wimbledon ended last year, there were two great takeaways from the tournament: Novak Djokovic would soon be pulling away in the grand slam title race and Ash Barty was beginning a new era of dominance.

Both seemed to be knock-ins, and yet neither has come to pass. Djokovic missed out on a calendar Grand Slam in New York before being banished from Australia, and despite drawing level with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 grand slams with his Centre Court triumph, he now finds himself two adrift of the Spaniard again.

Barty, meanwhile, has left her own party. The then world number one stunned the tennis world by retiring in March, having added the Australian Open she so craved to her trophy cabinet.

Djokovic and Iga Swiatek head into Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, as the top seeds.

Stats Perform has used Opta facts to consider what the men's and women's singles might deliver.

 

KING ROGER'S REIGN IS OVER, BUT DJOKOVIC AND NADAL KEEP GOING STRONG

There will come a time when the Wimbledon favourite is not one of the 'Big Three'. That time is not now.

Djokovic is the man most likely, as he targets his fourth straight Wimbledon title and seventh overall; since 2011, when he beat Nadal in the final, the Serbian has only been absent from the trophy match three times (in 2012, 2016 and 2017).

His winning run of 21 matches at Wimbledon is the fifth-longest in the men's singles. Bjorn Borg holds the record (41 between 1976 and 1981).

The last player other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon men's title was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. Federer is absent this year and may have played his last Wimbledon.

Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, the only season of his career when he has won three slams. This year, at the age of 36, he has the Australian and French Open trophies already locked away, potentially halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, last achieved in men's singles in 1969 by Rod Laver.

Should Nadal pull off another major coup, it would make him only the second man in the Open Era (from 1968) to win the season's first three singles slams, after Laver in 1969 and Djokovic last year.

Can the rest hope to compete?

What of Murray? Well, only Federer (19), Sampras (10), Laver and Jimmy Connors (both nine) have won more ATP titles on grass than the Scot in the Open Era. If he recovers from an abdominal strain, he has a shot at reaching the second week. He will of course have the full backing of the Wimbledon crowd.

Last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini is fancied more than Nadal by many, having won Stuttgart and Queen's Club titles in the build-up.

There has not been an American men's singles champion since 2000, and although the United States has six players seeded, more than any other nation, it seems a safe enough assumption we will be saying a similar thing again in 12 months' time.

Third seed Casper Ruud has never won a singles match at Wimbledon, while fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has not had a win since reaching the fourth round in 2018. Daniil Medvedev, the world number one, cannot compete at The All England Club after their contentious decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

IF SERENA CAN'T CHALLENGE SWIATEK, WHO CAN?

From the jaws of retirement, Serena Williams is back. Silence from the 40-year-old about her intentions had become almost deafening, and yet here she is, back at Wimbledon on a wildcard, hoping to rekindle the old magic.

Because she has pushed back against the doubters for over two decades now, you have to take this seriously. Her haul of 23 grand slams is one short of Margaret Court's all-time record and Williams would dearly love to at least match it.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber.

Only four women in the draw this year besides Williams have been champion before: Petra Kvitova (in 2011 and 2014), Garbine Muguruza (in 2017), Kerber (in 2018) and Halep (in 2019).

World number one Iga Swiatek starts as favourite. Junior Wimbledon champion four years ago, she has scooped two women's French Open titles since then and is on a 35-match winning streak.

After triumphing at Roland Garros in early June, Swiatek will hope to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 (Australian Open and US Open) to win two singles slams in the same season.

The only competitive warm-up for Williams came in two doubles matches at Eastbourne, having not played since sustaining a hamstring injury at Wimbledon last year. The seven-time champion might consider it a challenge that there has never been an unseeded Wimbledon women's singles finalist during the Open Era.

The women's top two seeds have not met in the final since Serena faced her sister Venus in the 2002 title match, so don't hold your breath for a Swiatek versus Anett Kontaveit showpiece on July 9.

Could Gauff be best of the rest?

Coco Gauff made a breakthrough with her run to the French Open final. Although she was blown away by Swiatek, for the 18-year-old American it was another mark of progress. Gauff reached the fourth round in Wimbledon in 2019 (lost to Halep) and 2021 (lost to Kerber).

Fitness is likely to be the key factor in how US Open champion Emma Raducanu fares at her home grand slam, given her injury problems. Raducanu reached the fourth round on a wildcard last year and the 19-year-old will attempt to become the first British woman to reach that stage in back-to-back seasons since Jo Durie (1984, 1985).

Ons Jabeur, meanwhile, should not be discounted. The world number three reached the quarter-finals at SW19 last year and heads to Wimbledon having won on grass at the Berlin Open, albeit Belinda Bencic had retired hurt in the final.

The likes of Gauff, Raducanu and 21-year-old Swiatek will attempt to become the youngest woman to lift the trophy since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova triumphed in 2004.

A first-round exit for Swiatek would leave the event wide open, but don't count on it. In the Open Era, only three times has the top-seeded woman lost in round one: Steffi Graf in 1994 and Martina Hingis in 1999 and 2001.

Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur have pulled out of their Eastbourne International doubles semi-final due to an injury concern just days before Wimbledon begins.

Organisers said Tunisian world number three singles star Jabeur was troubled by a right knee injury, forcing her brief alliance with Williams to come to an end.

They had won through two rounds in increasingly impressive style, with Williams making her return to the WTA Tour, having not played competitive tennis since injuring an ankle at Wimbledon last year.

The 40-year-old Williams was clearly enjoying the partnership with Jabeur, who in May became the first African or Arab woman to win a WTA 1000 singles title when she triumphed at the Madrid Open.

They had named themselves 'Onsrena' and were due to face Aleksandra Krunic and Magda Linette in the semi-finals, before news emerged on Thursday of their withdrawal.

No details of the seriousness of Jabeur's injury were disclosed, and it may prove a precautionary withdrawal given Wimbledon is so close, with the latter starting on Monday.

Jabeur won a title on grass in Berlin last week, showing she could pose a threat to top seed Iga Swiatek, providing she is not hampered by injury.

Williams, a 23-time grand slam singles champion, will also be competing at Wimbledon after being handed a wildcard entry into the tournament where she has won seven singles titles.

Serena Williams lauded her doubles partner Ons Jabeur after they advanced to the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International on Wednesday. 

Playing in her first tournament since retiring from the opening round of Wimbledon injured last year, Williams acknowledged she was particularly reliant on Jabeur during their 6-2 6-4 success over Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching. 

The 23-time grand slam singles champion opted to only play doubles on the south coast as she gears up for a return to the All England Club. 

"I think we played together much better," said Williams. "Although I thought we played really good together [against Maria Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo on Tuesday] too. 

"But Ons really held me up. She was really playing so good. I was looking at her and was like, 'Wow, this is great.' It's good." 

Williams and Jabeur will take on Aleksandra Krunic and Magda Linette for a place in the final. 

Jabeur playfully asked the 40-year-old if she would like to play together at the US Open, to which the former world number one responded: "Sign me up!" 

The Tunisian added: "I'm getting used to this. It was really great to play here and I didn't know we are in the semi-finals. It's super fast, but it's great for us." 

Serena Williams doubted whether she would return to elite tennis as she stepped up her Wimbledon preparations by playing doubles with Ons Jabeur at the Eastbourne International.

Williams teamed up with Jabeur on Tuesday to record a thrilling win over Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in her first competitive outing since last June, when she was forced to retire from her first-round Wimbledon clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich through injury.

Having been granted a wildcard entry to the year's third grand slam, which begins next week, Williams is bidding for her first major title since winning 2017's Australian Open.

But speaking after her successful return to the court, Williams admitted her comeback had been far from certain.

"Did I ever doubt I would return? Absolutely, for sure. I would be dishonest if I said it wasn't and now my body feels great," she said.

"I definitely felt good out there and I was talking with Ons in the first set saying 'we're not playing bad' because they were just playing really good in that first set.

"But obviously winning, getting more balls and playing a little bit more made us feel a lot better. It definitely felt reassuring. It has been clicking in practice and now it seems like it is clicking. It is doubles but it still means a lot to both of us to be in it."

Williams and Jabeur will face Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-Ching in Eastbourne's doubles quarter-finals after posting an impressive 2-6 6-3 13-11 victory in their first outing.

With Williams now ranked 1,204th in the world and aged 40, speculation has abounded as to whether her SW19 appearance will mark the beginning of a farewell tour for the seven-time Wimbledon champion.

However, Williams is not rushing to make any further decisions about her future in the game.

"You know what, I am literally taking it one day at a time. I really took my time with my hamstring injury so I am not making a ton of decisions after this," she added.

"I did a lot of non-training in the beginning obviously and after I couldn't play New York [2021's US Open] I went cold turkey of not working out.

"It felt good, but I always try to stay semi-fit because you never know when you are going to play Wimbledon.

"I love tennis and I love playing otherwise I wouldn't be here, but I also love what I do off the court."

Serena Williams made a thrilling return to the WTA Tour as she and Ons Jabeur teamed up to win a nail-biting doubles contest at the Eastbourne International.

Czech player Marie Bouzkova and Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo provided stiff competition but eventually succumbed 2-6 6-3 13-11 as Williams grew in belief.

This was the first competitive match for 40-year-old Williams since abandoning her Wimbledon first-round clash against Aliaksandra Sasnovich last June, due to an ankle injury.

It was also her first doubles main-draw match on grass since she and sister Venus won the 2016 Wimbledon title, so she was understandably rusty in the early stages, while world number three Jabeur's nervousness about playing with Williams, which she spoke of after the match, was also evident.

Williams will be on a wildcard at Wimbledon next week, due to her ranking plummeting, as she chases what would be a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title.

Her game looked sketchy early on, with a smash into the net handing over the second game, before she then blazed a volley over the baseline to concede the early break.

Her own serve was broken as Sorribes Tormo and Bouzkova snatched a 4-1 double-break lead in the opener, which they soon wrapped up.

Williams lost her footing on the grass midway through the second set, slipping over, but she was soon back up, with the contest becoming increasingly competitive.

Jabeur and Williams forged a 4-3 lead in the second set and then broke to force the match tie-break.

All-out assault from Williams brought up a first match point, but the American then rattled a backhand long after Jabeur failed to put away a volley at the net early in the rally.

Another match point slipped away as Jabeur netted from another great chance, but a drop shot from the Tunisian brought up a third, and this time Sorribes Tormo volleyed wide to herald a scream of delight from Williams.

"Oh my god, it was so fun to play with Ons," said Williams. "Our opponents played amazing. They played so well in that first set, they were jamming.

"We were just trying to stay in there after the first set, it was good though.

"I caught some fire behind me, so that's good; I needed that."

Ons Jabeur has announced she will not take part in the singles tournament at the Eastbourne International.

Jabeur will continue to play in the doubles, where she will pair with American legend Serena Williams, who has not played a competitive match since a first-round defeat at Wimbledon last year.

The news of the Tunisian's withdrawal from the singles tournament comes on the same day that she was elevated to world number three, after her victory at the Berlin Open on Sunday.

She beat Belinda Bencic in the final after her Swiss opponent retired with an ankle injury.

"I feel like I need to be smart about this decision," Jabeur told reporters about her choice not to play singles at Eastbourne.

Jabeur and Williams will face off against the unseeded duo Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round on Tuesday.

 

Ons Jabeur hailed Serena Williams as a "legend" as she expressed her nervousness and excitement to pair with the American great at the Eastbourne International.

Williams has not played a competitive match since defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round of last year's Wimbledon and is now ranked at 1,204 in the world.

The 40-year-old, who is one grand slam title shy of matching Margaret Court's long-standing record of 24, will feature at the third grand slam of the year, which starts next Monday.

Eastbourne will serve as preparation for the upcoming grass-court major after Williams received a wild card in the doubles draw alongside Jabeur.

Jabeur has been in fine form in 2022, winning the Berlin Open and Madrid Open and rising to world number three, though she remains nervous to play with Williams at Eastbourne.

"I wanted to tell everyone, but obviously I couldn't," Jabeur told the WTA Tour in an interview. "I told my family, but even my close friends, I didn't tell anyone.

"Excited, really lucky that she picked me. I'm pretty glad that I can share the court with her. I always watched Serena playing and always supported her.

"She's such a legend and such an example for our sport. I'm really nervous to play. I hope the match will be great and we'll have great matches.

"I don't know why she picked me to be honest. Maybe she watched Madrid. I met her a few times outside the court and she was always nice.

"I remember exchanging pins with her in Rio. I respect her so much. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. I had to take my time in Berlin, but now it's Eastbourne. I cannot wait for this moment."

Williams and Jabeur have been drawn against unseeded duo Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round on Tuesday.

Ons Jabeur won the Berlin Open to seal her third career title following Belinda Bencic's retirement in the second set.

The win sees Jabeur rise to a career-high of number three in the world as the Tunisian – who was winning  6-3 2-1 when Bencic succumbed to an ankle injury – capitalised on her top seed position for the tournament.

With Jabeur on serve to clinch the first set, Bencic rolled her ankle and required treatment in a three-minute medical timeout – with Jabeur swiftly nosing herself ahead on the restart with an ace.

Olympic gold medallist Bencic pushed to continue but came to the net to retire when trailing 2-1 in the second set, taking Jabeur's tally of wins in 2022 to 30, a total that is only bettered by world number one Iga Swiatek.

Victory marked Jabeur's second title of 2022, with the 27-year-old having previously won the Madrid Open.

Jabeur had plenty of support from the crowd throughout the tournament, and said: "I cannot forget how amazing the crowd is, Tunisians are amazing, thank you for coming. I hope I can come back next year, it's been great to come back to Berlin."

Bencic paid tribute to her opponent following the game, saying: "You deserve this title, I really don't want to take this moment away from you because I think you played incredible tennis.

"This is the best tennis of your life, so I hope you continue. You gave me a really hard time, maybe it was one serve too much for me. This is your moment so I want you to enjoy it and focus on your title."

Jabeur continues her Wimbledon preparations at Eastbourne next week, competing in both the singles and doubles event – she will play alongside Serena Williams – while Bencic will be hoping to recover in time to feature in the season's third grand slam.

Ons Jabeur kept Coco Gauff waiting for a top 10 debut as the Tunisian battled past her teenage opponent to reach the Berlin Open final.

Gauff would have secured a career-high ranking on the WTA list if she had won Saturday's semi-final, but top seed Jabeur took it 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to earn a shot at Belinda Bencic in the title match.

Only world number one Iga Swiatek has won more matches on the WTA Tour than fourth-ranked Jabeur this year, who collected a 29th win as she overcame a 3-1 career head-to-head deficit against Gauff to earn the victory.

Gauff, at 18 years and 98 days, would have become the youngest American to reach a grass-court singles final on tour since Andrea Jaeger was runner-up to Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1983.

It was not to be her day though, Jabeur breaking serve for the fourth time in the match to seal victory, encouraged by a large and vocal Tunisian following.

Reflecting on the match, Jabeur said: "When you play Coco you have to have all the shots. She's a talented player; she's very tough to beat. You can see I've lost already three times against her.

"Sometimes she takes it, sometimes I take it, and it was a great match for both of us."

This is just the second WTA tournament where 27-year-old Jabeur has been a top seed.

"I've tried to act like a number one seed on and off the court, and it's a good pressure," she added. "I'm trying to handle it very well and with the support of our Tunisian people here it's great."

Olympic gold medallist Bencic had earlier claimed an impressive 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4 win over Greek second seed Maria Sakkari in the first semi-final.

Jabeur was bettered by Bencic in a hard-fought Charleston final in April, but is determined to secure a different outcome this time.

"I'm definitely going for the final revenge because we played each other at Charleston, and it was a very, very tough match," Jabeur said. "I hope she's tired from today's match."

Rain meant there was no play at the Birmingham Classic on Saturday, with the semi-finals set back to Sunday.

Beatriz Haddad Maia will face 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, while Zhang Shuai tackles Sorana Cirstea.

Coco Gauff reached the first grass-court semi-final of her career by beating Karolina Pliskova at the Berlin Open, teeing up a clash with top seed Ons Jabeur.

Having already recorded her best tour-level run on grass by reaching the final eight, Gauff recorded a superb 7-5 6-4 win over two-time grand slam finalist Pliskova.

Gauff – who reached her first grand slam final at Roland Garros last month, saved four set points in the opener before roaring to victory in one hour and 37 minutes, and was delighted to have overcome a tough opponent in the world number seven.

"I'm super happy with how I played today," Gauff said on court after the win. "Playing her on grass, with her serve, how flat she hits the ball, it was really tough to be honest. 

"A first semi-final on grass is pretty cool, and also I feel like the opponents I've played this week haven’t been easy, especially today, so I'm proud of myself about that."

Gauff will face Jabeur for a spot in the final after the Tunisian fought back from one set down in a 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-2 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who entered the contest having won 26 matches during an impressive year.

The other semi-final will see Maria Sakkari face Belinda Bencic, after the world number six cruised to a 6-0 6-3 win over Daria Kasatkina and Bencic beat Veronika Kudermetova 3-6 6-3 6-3.

In the Birmingham Classic, meanwhile, Simona Halep raced to a 6-4 6-1 win over Katie Boulter to reach the final four, but third seed Camila Giorgi fell to a 6-3 6-2 loss to Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, who has now won eight consecutive games on grass.

While that pair will face off in one of Saturday's semi-finals, eighth seed Zhang Shuai will face Sorana Cirstea in the other. Zhang overcame Dayana Yastremska 7-5 6-4 and sixth seed Cirstea beat Donna Vekic 5-7 6-3 6-4.

Ons Jabeur held off qualifier Alycia Parks to reach the quarter-finals of the Berlin Open, saving set point before winning a competitive second-set tie-break to set up a last-eight clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Jabeur took one hour and 31 minutes to overcome her stubborn opponent in the German capital, with the world number four triumphing 6-2 7-6 (10-8) to reach her eighth quarter-final of 2022 – each of which have been at WTA 500 level or higher.

The Tunisian will face Sasnovich for a semi-final spot next time out, with the Belarusian having won 26 matches so far this year (including qualifying draws). Only Iga Swiatek (42) and Beatriz Haddad Maia (29) have more victories so far this season on the WTA Tour.

The other seeds in action in Berlin on Thursday also progressed, with Coco Gauff overcoming Wang Xinyu 6-0 6-4 to tee up a clash with Karolina Pliskova, and Belinda Bencic downing Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 1-6 6-1.

Defending champion Ludmilla Samsonova, however, suffered a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 defeat to Veronika Kudermetova.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham Classic's top seed Jelena Ostapenko fell to a surprise 3-6 7-5 7-5 last-16 reverse against Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska, who reached her first ever grass-court quarter-final on the WTA tour.

The world number 79 will face Zhang Shuai for a spot in the final four after she fought her way to a 6-2 2-6 7-5 win over Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

Third seed Camila Giorgi will join them in the last eight after recovering from losing her first set against American Lauren Davis to secure a 3-6 7-5 6-2 win.

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