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Ons Jabeur outlasts Tamara Zidansek, advances in Aussie Open

Jan 14, 2023; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Ons Jabeur of Tunisia hits a shot during a practice session at Kia Arena at Melbourne Park. Mandatory Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

Second-seeded Ons Jabeur survived a scare to outlast Tamara Zidansek in a first-round match at the Australian Open on Tuesday in Melbourne, Australia.

Jabeur posted a 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-1 win over the 98th-ranked Zidansek of Slovenia in 2 hours, 17 minutes.

The Tunisian overcame two grueling sets before having an easier time of it in the third. She won 24 of the last 29 points and benefited from consecutive double faults from Zidansek in the final game to ease her way to victory.

“It was a very tough match,” Jabeur said. “I wasn’t playing very well, and she was putting a lot of pressure on me. She’s a player that doesn’t give up and brings every ball in, so I was getting pretty frustrated. I told myself to be No. 2 in the world and just win this match.”

While Jabeur weathered the storm against Zidansek, 19 other matches had to be rescheduled to Wednesday due to extreme heat and monsoonal rain.

No. 12 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland was able to finish her match and continued her run of good fortune by breezing to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova. Bencic captured her seventh career title at the Adelaide International 2 last week.

“It’s been a great start, it’s the best start I ever had,” Bencic said on court following her 67-minute match. “But the season is long and we’re trying to grind every week and trying to win tournaments, playing every single week. It’s never easy but I’m optimistic for this year.”

Bencic fired 27 winners and benefited from 16 unforced errors for her opponent. She did not face a break point in the match.

Other seeded winners included No. 4 Carolina Garcia of France, No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, No. 9 Veronika Kudermetova and No. 18 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia, No. 16 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, No. 26 Elise Mertens of Belgium and No. 30 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

No. 21 Martina Trevisan of Italy and No. 31 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia were not as fortunate.

Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over Trevisan, while Australian wild-card Kimberly Birrell notched a 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over the 37-year-old Kanepi.

–Field Level Media