Ons Jabeur in tough development as brutal season continues

One of tennis' favourite characters has endured another tough tournament.

·4-min read
Ons Jabeur in pain at Miami Open and Jabeur looking frustrated.
Tunisian tennis favourite Ons Jabeur (pictured) has been eliminated from the Miami Open to compound her brutal 2023 season so far. (Getty Images)

Tunisian tennis favourite Ons Jabeur has been eliminated from the Miami Open in another early exit after her tough return to tennis continues. Jabeur entered the 2023 season with high hopes having made the Wimbledon and US Open final and searching for a maiden grand slam title.

But Jabeur appeared in serious pain during her brutal exit at the Australian Open and the Tunisian announced she would miss her Middle East campaign after requiring surgery on her knee. Jabeur returned for the first time last week at Indian Wells, but lost in the round of 32 against Marketa Vondrousova.

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And in her latest setback, Jabuer didn't win a game in Miami as she fell to Varvara Gracheva in straight sets 6-2 6-2. The No.4 seed didn't look like pushing the in-form Gracheva to a deciding set after she was outplayed and looked well below her best in the 67 minute loss.

In the first set, Jabeur hit 13 unforced errors. In worrying signs, Jabuer called the physio on two occasions in the second set as she tried to improve her game.

Jabeur will now head into the clay court season going 2-4 in 2023 and having lost in the second round of her last three tournaments. After the match, Gracheva admitted she wanted to start quickly against Jabeur.

"The plan was, of course like all matches, to be as stable as possible, to try to make her work as much points as possible, and of course wait for comfortable ones to attack," Gravecha said on her on-court interview.

Many fans claimed Jabeur had returned from her knee injury too early, while others are hoping the Tunisian can recapture her form in time for Roland Garros.

Upsets at Miami Open as Jabeur and Caroline Garcia fall

Jabeur wasn't the only top seed to fall. Fifth seed Caroline Garcia also crashed out, losing 6-2 6-3 to 74th-ranked Sorana Cirstea, who also recently beat the Frenchwoman at Indian Wells.

Bianca Andreescu came from a set down to beat seventh seed Maria Sakkari 5-7 6-3 6-4 in a match that lasted over three hours. Andreescu displayed some of the form that saw her lift the 2019 US Open title, fighting back from a set down and proving composed in the big moments.

The Canadian, who is ranked 31st, will take on 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the third round. Andreescu knocked out Emma Raducanu in the first round as she continues her battle for form.

Ons Jabeur looks dejected at the Miami Open.
Ons Jabeur (pictured) has now lost three second round matches in 2023 after her elimination at the Miami Open. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka has continued her dominant form in 2023 to defeat America Shelby Rogers 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 17 minutes. Sabalenka will next face No.31 seed Marie Bouzkova.

Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina, who beat Sabalenka in the final, beat Anna Kalinskaya 7-5 4-6 6-3, while Petra Kvitova eased past compatriot Linda Noskova 6-3 6-0. Ninth seed Belinda Bencic dropped just two games as she cruised past Leylah Fernandez 6-1 6-1, and will face Ekaterina Alexandrova next as the 18th seed needed three to get past Taylor Townsend.

with AAP

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