Australian Open: Ons Jabeur survives an opening-round test against Tamara Zidansek

The 28-year-old was made to work hard for her triumph by her 25-year-old rival

by Abbey Johnson
Australian Open: Ons Jabeur survives an opening-round test against Tamara Zidansek

A day after top seed Iga Swiatek was made to work for her first-round win at the Australian Open, it was the second seed Ons Jabeur’s turn to do so. On Tuesday, the Tunisian needed two hours and 17 minutes to claim a 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-1 win over Tamara Zidansek.

The match began with a break on Jabeur’s serve and as it wore on, her struggles to get the timing on her shots right only intensified. Zidansek’s serve didn’t hold up all too well and she handed the break back after a lengthy game that involved multiple deuces.

Jabeur did manage to momentarily get her game back in order as she broke Zidansek for the second time in the set to go up 4-2 but this lead didn’t last long. In the 10th game, Jabeur did have a set point on the Slovenian’s serve but the latter went on to save it.

Eventually, in the tie-break, Jabeur saved three set points before winning the set on the third set point, she had.

Australian Open: Ons Jabeur finds a way

In the second set, both players steadied their nerves long enough to retain serve till the seventh game.

In the eighth, Jabeur’s serve cracked once again and she handed the break to Zidansek well in time for the latter to serve the set out. However, Zidansek’s own serving woes emerged once again and she gave the break right back.

Jabeur though was unable to consolidate as she dropped her serve right away allowing Zidansek to level the match at a set apiece. Losing the set seemed to have taken away Jabeur’s worries as she put her game together for the first time all evening.

Her shots didn’t miss the lines throughout the set and she was able to get her backhand going, which drew out errors from Zidansek. It also didn’t help the former French Open semi-finalist’s cause that she hit four double faults, two of which came off consecutive points while she was serving to stay in the match in the seventh game of the set.

Incidentally, it was the only time in the match that Zidansek had double-faulted. Jabeur won 63% of her first-serve points to Zidansek’s 51% and 60% of her second-serve points to the latter’s 50%. She had 28 winners to her opponent’s 20 but also finished with eight more unforced errors to the latter’s 40.

Photo Credit: Australian Open Twitter

Australian Open Ons Jabeur Tamara Zidansek