Aryna Sabalenka sets eyes on overtaking Iga Swiatek: I also want to be No 1

It was more bad luck for Ons Jabeur as the popular Tunisian was forced to retire from her Stuttgart Open semi-final against Iga Swiatek.

Jabeur appeared to injure her leg in the first game, and though she battled on gamely for two further games, it was clear she was not going to be able to continue. World No. 1 Swiatek will face Aryna Sabalenka in Sunday’s final.

Iga Swiatek received an unexpected passage to the Stuttgart Open final as a tearful Ons Jabeur retired from their match after suffering another injury.
In the very first game of the semi-final, Jabeur appeared to pull up with a leg problem, walking off gingerly at the end of the game and requesting the physio.

A medical timeout followed, during which Jabeur received heavy strapping, but it was to no avail as she lost the following two games, and was barely able to run or put any weight on her left leg.


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Speaking on court afterwards, a tearful Jabeur said: “I’m sorry guys, I really tried. [The injury was on] the third point, I don’t know what happened.
“I was really excited to play Iga today, it’s always a fun match-up between us and seeing that the stadium is full, I just really appreciate it.

“I wish her the best of luck for the final. I tried to run but Iga never makes it easy.
“Thank you guys for coming, and hopefully next time I come back to Stuttgart.”
It’s the latest injury of a difficult 2023 for Jabeur, who underwent minor surgery in February, following a disappointing Australian Open second-round exit.


“In order to take care of my health situation, my medical team have decided that I need to get a minor surgery in order to be able to be back on the courts and perform well,” Jabeur wrote on social media at the time.
Jabeur then struggled during the ‘Sunshine Swing’ events during March, but won the title in Charleston as she appeared to be coming back into form, before this new setback.
Swiatek, a close friend of Jabeur’s as well as a rival, said afterwards she hoped the Tunisian’s injury was “nothing serious”.

“I don’t know what Ons’ situation is, but I really respect the fact that she tried and she went to see how it’s going to go,” the world No. 1 said.
“She’s a fighter so she’s going to be back quick, I just hope it’s nothing serious.”

Looking ahead to the final, where she will face Aryna Sabalenka – who beat the Pole at last November’s WTA Finals – Swiatek said: “She gained confidence during this season so it’s going to be tough, she already has a huge experience.

“I never expect it to be easy, so I’m just going to play 100% what I can, and we’ll see.
“I don’t expect anything, I’m just going to try and stay present, not look forward too much, just be focused on the here and now.”


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