Emma Raducanu highlights Tunisia's Ons Jabeur will be the favorite when they meet in Abu Dhabi but adds that she is still excited about the upcoming match and that she has nothing to lose.
On Monday, Raducanu clinched a commanding 6-4 6-1 win over 36th-ranked Marie Bouzkova to reach the Abu Dhabi round-of-16. In her next match, Raducanu will be clashing against No. 2 seed Jabeur, who had a first-round bye at the tournament.
Ahead of the Jabeur match, Raducanu admitted that she wasn't happy about people talking about her meeting Jabeur in Abu Dhabi when she still had to beat a tricky opponent like Bouzkova in her opener.
"She’s definitely the home favorite here, rightfully so. I really like Ons, she’s someone who's kind of taken me under her wing as I’ve been new to the tour," Raducanu said ahead of the Jabeur match.
"I’m really looking forward to it because a lot of people were saying to me, ‘Oh, Ons, Ons, Ons!’ And I was like, ‘I’m playing Marie who’s ranked like 30 in the world, so that’s not an easy match!’ But I’m really pleased to have put myself in this situation, and I’m going out with nothing to lose against her."
Raducanu and Jabeur once played in Abu Dhabi
In 2022 December, 2021 US Open champion Raducanu and three-time Grand Slam finalist Jabeur played an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi. Back then, Jabeur edged out Raducanu in a three-setter 5-7 6-3 10-8.
So far, that has been their lone meeting as their upcoming Abu Dhabi match will be the first time that they will be facing off on the main level.
While Jabeur is ranked at No. 6 in the world and enters the match as the favorite, she hasn't been impressive at the start of the season, having been demolished 6-0 6-2 by Mirra Andreeva in the Australian Open second round in her lone tournament of the year.
On the other side, Raducanu's confidence certainly increased after a great performance against Bouzkova and the 21-year-old Briton could absolutely have a shot at beating Jabeur if she plays her game.