CHICAGO (AP) — Ons Jabeur was hardly thrilled about needing to wake up at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday ahead of her 9 a.m. match and got off to a slow start before reaching the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic quarterfinals by coming back to beat Jessica Pegula 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
The sixth-seeded Jabeur advanced to face No. 1 seed Elina Svitolina, who defeated Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 6-3.
“Last time I woke up at 5:30 was probably for preseason (training) or to take a flight, not to play a match,” said Jabeur, a 27-year-old Tunisian who is ranked a career-best No. 16 this week. “But I can’t complain much.”
She said she tried to do everything an hour or so earlier than usual, such as eating and going to bed; she was ready to sleep at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
“Starting against Jessica is not easy, anyway — 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. is never easy,” Jabeur said. “So I’m glad that I got the rhythm later.”
Her 42 tour wins in 2021 are second only to No. 2-ranked Aryna Sabalenka’s 43.
Other seeded women reaching the quarterfinals at the hard-court tournament included No. 2 Garbiñe Muguruza — the two-time Grand Slam champion moved on when two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka pulled out before their match was supposed to begin — No. 5 Elena Rybakina and No. 10 Danielle Collins. But No. 16 Jil Teichmann lost 6-4, 6-3 to unseeded Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 French Open runner-up.
Rybakina beat No. 12 Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (4), 7-5, and Collins defeated No. 7 Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-4. Mertens had her upper left leg wrapped by a trainer after taking a medical timeout early in the second set.
No reason was immediately given for Azarenka’s withdrawal from the tournament.
Jabeur entered Thursday’s match with a 0-2 career record against the ninth-seeded Pegula. That included a loss at Montreal in August when Jabeur served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, got broken and ended up losing in three.
That match was on Jabeur’s mind this time, including when she served for the victory at 5-3 in the third set. She went up 40-love but got too defensive, Jabeur acknowledged afterward, and the first three match points disappeared, two on forehand winners by Pegula.
Jabeur then needed to save a pair of break points before closing things out with an ace and a service winner to reach her sixth quarterfinal of the season, including at Wimbledon in July.