Impressive Jabeur edges Mertens to reach quarter-finals

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LONDON : Ons Jabeur’s hopes of becoming the first African to lift the Rosewater Dish gathered momentum on Sunday as she edged out Belgian Elise Mertens 7-6(9) 6-4 in a topsy-turvy encounter to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the second year running.

The second-ranked Tunisian, the only seed left in the bottom half of the women’s draw, has been the form player over the opening week of the grasscourt championships as she reached the last eight without dropping a set.

Mertens, however, was no pushover during the contest as she earned five set points during a marathon first-set tiebreak.

But once Jabeur produced the firepower to wriggle out of trouble, she raised her game in the second set and wrapped up the win when Mertens surrendered with a double fault.

The 27-year-old will next meet 66th-ranked Czech challenger Marie Bouzkova as the Tunisian targets a place in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

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