NEW YORK: Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur demolished Caroline Garcia in straight sets to become the first African woman in history to reach the final of the US Open on Thursday.
Fifth seed Jabeur dominated Garcia from start to finish of a one-sided semi-final at Arthur Ashe Stadium, winning 6-1, 6-3 in just 1hr 6min.
Jabeur, who also made history as the first African woman to reach the final of Wimbledon in July, will play world number one Iga Swiatek or Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in Saturday’s final.
“It feels amazing,” Jabeur said. “After Wimbledon I had a lot of pressure on me and I’m really relieved that I can back up my results.
“The hard court season started a little bit bad, but I’m very happy that I made it to the finals here.”
Jabeur’s victory extended her career-long domination of Garcia.
The 28-year-old Tunisian had beaten Garcia four times as a junior in Grand Slam events, and twice as a professional in Slams before Thursday.
“I know she was playing amazing tennis and that puts a lot of pressure on you,” Jabeur said. “It wasn’t easy for me but mentally I was so ready.”
Jabeur will head into Saturday’s final brimming with confidence after a dominant victory over the in-form Garcia.
Garcia, seeded 17, had arrived in the last four on the back of a 13-match winning streak which included a victory at the Cincinnati Masters lead-in event.
But Jabeur ruthlessly dismantled Garcia’s dream of becoming the first French woman to win the US Open crown with a clinical win.
‘Nerves were there’
Garcia later admitted she had struggled to cope with the pressure of the occasion.
“Obviously nerves were there,” Garcia said. “Today I did know it was semi-finals, so you know what it’s bringing you if you win and what you want to achieve. It’s a dream since I’m a little girl.
“I tried the best I could. I kept fighting, kept going for it, because I know it’s my way to do things.”
Jabeur fired down eight aces and won 83% of her points on first serve.
Garcia looked hesitant from the outset and handed Jabeur an early break point in the opening game when she missed an easy smash with the court wide open.
Jabeur duly converted the break and never looked back thereafter, breaking Garcia on two further occasions in a first set that saw the Frenchwoman make 14 unforced errors.
Jabeur was soon back on top in the second set, breaking Garcia again in the fourth game before holding for a commanding 4-1 lead.
With the next three games going with serve, Jabeur served for the match at 5-3.
Garcia, who had failed to earn a single break point throughout the match, was again unable to put pressure on Jabeur, who wrapped up victory when a weak Garcia return of serve flopped into the net.
“Usually in Tunisia they follow soccer but that time they chose to watch my match,” she said. “That’s unbelievable. So thank you guys in Tunisia if you’re still awake and watching.”