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Gauff Reaches Berlin Semis After Jabeur Retires

Jun 22nd 2024

Gauff makes semis in Berlin after Jabeur retires after losing the first set 6-7

Coco Gauff the world #2 and reigning US Open champion progressed to the semifinals at the Ecotrans Ladies Open following a spectacular first set that unfortunately ended with her opponent’s retirement. Gauff just twenty years old, was competing in her eighth quarterfinal of the season.

Ons Jabeur from Tunisia is a three-time grand slam finalist including the past two on the lawns of the All England Club. The former world #2 with her wonderfully varied game, is a thrill to watch, especially on grass. The twenty-nine-year-old currently ranked #10, was seeking her first semifinal of the season. She has been plagued with a chronic knee injury and today was sidelined due to illness.

Gauff won the toss and chose to serve. She made 4/6 first serves and crushed a forehand crosscourt for 1-0. Jabeur opened with a fantastic slice backhand winner and leveled with an ace up the tee.


The American faced double break point and deuce yet held when Jabeur netted a forehand. Jabeur opened with two consecutive errors and faced break point and deuce but held with her second ace. Gauff opened and closed the fifth with aces to lead 3-2.

Jabeur opened the sixth with a spectacular crosscourt forehand and though she faced two deuce and two break points, held for 3-3 when Gauff whiffed a forehand. Gauff opened the seventh with two consecutive backhand winners and held at love for 4-3. Jabeur serving with new balls struck a stunning forehand down the line and held at love for parity.

The American opened the ninth with a crisp backhand winner and with a monster serve up the tee, held at love for 5-4. Jabeur serving to stay in the match was emotionally flat and appeared to be suffering from a vestibular ailment. Her first serve went MIA and after two deuce points faced set point.

The two-time Wimbledon finalist dug deep into her grass court bag of tricks to ward off six more deuce points and five additional set points, She struck three winners including a forehand drop volley to eke out the hold.   

The crowd fully engaged in this enthralling high-quality match, enthusiastically urged on the players as the set drew to a close. Gauff superbly managed the disappointment of not breaking the previous game by holding to 15 for 6-5. The pressure now back on her opponent, Jabeur stunned, making 5/6 first serves to force the breaker.

Jabeur called for the physio before the opening point of the tiebreak. The Tunisian led 2-1 and reached set point at 6-5 after extracting another error from Gauff. The American reached set point at 7-6 but Jabeur struck an extraordinary crosscourt backhand volley to level.

She reached set point at 8-7 but Gauff leveled with a remarkable inside-in backhand winner. Jabeur reached her third set point at 9-8 but was denied after repeated blows from Gauff’s forehand drew a backhand error.

The American reached her eighth set point at 10-9 when Jabeur netted a backhand drop shot and converted following another backhand error from her opponent.

It was a sensational opening set, a harbinger of the next but unfortunately, Jabeur was compelled due to illness to concede the 1 ¼ hour match. Gauff finished with two aces, zero double faults, saved 2/2 break points, and won 86% of first and 64% of second serve points.

Though she has yet to progress beyond the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, she possesses an impressive 18-8 win/loss record on the surface. Gauff’s forehand with its extreme grip and take-back poses a myriad of problems on grass so she will need to make adjustments to secure her first title on the surface.

She will battle fellow American and frequent doubles partner Jessica Pegula in the semis. While Pegula the world #5 leads the head-to-head 3-1, Gauff prevailed in straights in their only previous match on grass last season in the quarters at Eastbourne.