World No. 7 Ons Jabeur said beating Simona Halep was extremely important to her as she noted those kind of matches she needs to win if she wants to have a shot at a Grand Slam title. This season, Jabeur made a habit of reaching the quarterfinal and then losing.
In Madrid, Jabeur made another quarterfinal and she had to battle former world No. 1 Halep for a semifinal spot. Halep was playing extremely well in Madrid as she made the quarterfinal without a dropped set. In the quarterfinal, Jabeur delivered an outstanding performance as she saw off Haleo 6-3 6-2.
Jabeur later defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova and Jessica Pegula to win her first WTA 1000 title in Madrid.
Jabeur: Overcoming Halep was really big for me
"For me, the most significant thing is playing against Simona, I had to go through this step, through this test to be able to achieve my dreams.
I want to be in the Top 5. I want to win Grand Slams. To be able to win Grand Slams I think I have to go through a final like this, the second biggest final after a Grand Slam. I cannot escape not doing this anymore," Jabeur told WTA insider.
"Like I said, it was about digging deep in this tournament and knowing what I'm worth in some matches. To be able to challenge myself as well, because this is a challenge between myself. The trophy is amazing, but for me, the most important thing is that I had to do this to be able to win a Grand Slam one day."
In Madrid, Halep was accompanied by her sports pyschologist Melania Maillard. "I'm not usually easy to open, but when she's here it's easier to open up and talk to her. Picking up the phone, it's always difficult to do that.
But I always believed in Melanie, always believed that she could help me. We've been working together for a long time now. I could see the progress that we did," Jabeur said. Jabeur is now hoping to continue her strong form in Rome and potentially win back-to-back titles.