Ons Jabeur gutted amid 'brutal' scenes at Australian Open

The shattered World No.2 could be seen slumped on the floor after her Australian Open heartbreak.

Ons Jabeur was slumped in the tunnel in heartbreaking scenes at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty/Twitter
Ons Jabeur was slumped in the tunnel in heartbreaking scenes at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty/Twitter

Cameras captured a shattered Ons Jabeur slumped on the floor of the players' tunnel after her Australian Open heartbreak late on day four at Melbourne Park. The women's No.2 seed became the latest high-profile player to crash out of the grand slam after a 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 loss to Czech World No. 86 Marketa Vondrousova.

In a one-hour-and-41 minute rollercoaster ride that finished after 1am on Rod Laver Arena, Jabeur was bundled out off the back of a litany of unforced errors. The Tunisian made 50 unforced errors against Vondrousova and had her serve broken on eight occasions.

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Jabeur had only fleetingly showed the form that took her to two grand slam finals during a shaky opening-round win and she again struggled against the less-fancied Czech. The second seed dropped her first service game against Vondrousova, who raced into a 3-0 lead. Vondrousova had lost all three of her previous tour-level matches against Jabeur but this was their first meeting on a hard court.

The Czech broke again for 5-1 and secured the set in just 24 minutes of dominant tennis. Jabeur, who missed last year's Australian Open with a back injury, was a shadow of the player who won Madrid and Berlin trophies last year in a breakout season which propelled her to second in the rankings.

She hit back at the start of the second set but was broken again when serving for the set at 5-3. Jabeur then blew a set point on Vondrousova's next service game, but at 6-5 created another chance and this time converted.

Seen here, Ons Jabeur during her second round loss against Marketa Vondrousova at the Australian Open.
Ons Jabeur cut a frustrated figure in her second round loss against Marketa Vondrousova at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty

It was a rare moment to celebrate in a desperate performance devoid of any spark against an inspired opponent who simply made fewer errors. Vondrousova was not to be denied, quickly securing a triple break in the final set for a famous win.

Jabeur was reduced to tears after the match and in heartbreaking scenes could be seen slumping to the floor as she made her way back down the tunnel and into the players' change rooms. The confronting images left fans gutted for the popular star.

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Vondrousova, 23, was ranked as high as 14th in 2019 and is on the comeback trail after an injury-hit season which resulted in surgery on her left wrist.

"It's always tough to come back after such a long time," she said. "I just started in November and I felt good and I did great," said the left-handed Vondrousova, who reached the last 16 at Melbourne Park in 2021.

"I worked on my fitness a lot and I'm just very happy to be back on this level and to be able to play these sorts of matches." The win puts Vondrousova into an all-Czech third-round clash against Linda Fruhvirtova, the World No. 82.

Iga Swiatek looking to cash in as seeds fall

Jabeur's shock exit opens the door further for World No.1 Iga Swiatek and title rival Jessica Pegula, who are both in action on Friday. Coco Gauff is another attempting to reach round four.

Poland's Swiatek will hope to take full advantage of the high-profile exits as she pursues a fourth grand slam crown - but first in Melbourne. She will be expected to make light work of 100th-ranked Spaniard Cristina Bucsa.

Also on day five, in-form American Pegula faces Ukraine's 61st-ranked Marta Kostyuk, also on Margaret Court Arena. On Rod Laver Arena, the 18-year-old Gauff, the seventh seed who knocked out Emma Raducanun in round two - goes up against fellow American Bernarda Pera

Also on centre court will be an intriguing encounter between 24th seed Victoria Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, and 10th-seeded American Madison Keys.

Danielle Collins, who lost last year's final to now-retired Ashleigh Barty, is another American player in action. She faces a test in 22nd seed Elena Rybakina, last year's Wimbledon champion.

with agencies

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