Trailblazing Tunisian Ons Jabeur has become the first Arab woman to reach the last-16 at Wimbledon.
The 26-year-old tennis player showed her fighting qualities and a great range of shots on Friday, coming back from a set down to beat 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 26 minutes.
Jabeur will take on 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek next.
In the second round, Jabeur also beat former world number one Venus Williams.
“Honestly, she’s just breaking down barriers. The first woman from her country to do anything that she’s doing,” Williams said about Jabeur. “She’s inspiring so many people, including me.”Jabeur was so nervous when she moved to two match points she knelt down and was physically sick in the corner of Centre Court at the end where the Duchess of Cambridge was sitting in the Royal Box.
“I’m actually having a problem with my stomach,” she said at her press conference after her win over Muguruza.
“I have an inflammation. It has been going on for a while … It bothers me probably with the stress, fatigue, everything. Sometimes when I drink water, the water doesn’t go through any more. That’s why I get sick.”
Muguruza saved that match point but Jabeur made no mistake when she secured a second one and fell on her back in celebration, getting back up to a standing ovation.
Since reaching the quarter-finals of the 2020 Australian Open, she has gone from strength to strength, reaching two French Open last 16s and now Wimbledon.
It was another landmark performance by Jabeur who last month became the first Arab woman to win a WTA Tour title, winning on grass at Birmingham.
She said it was the “best day of her career,” and the significance of it for the Arab world was immense.
“It means a lot,” she said. “Especially so many Arab people watching me and supporting me. I’ve received a lot of messages from different people … It’s amazing. But I don’t want the journey to stop here. I want it to continue.
“I mean, hopefully whoever is watching, I hope that so many of the young generation is watching, and I can inspire them. Hopefully one day I could be playing with a lot of players next to me.”