Two-time grand slam runner-up Ons Jabeur says it is "time to recover and get healthier" after her shock second-round elimination from the Australian Open on Thursday.

The Tunisian second seed committed 50 unforced errors as she was bundled out of the opening major of the 2023 season, losing 6-1 5-7 6-1 loss to Marketa Vondrousova.

The defeat comes after the 28-year-old's outstanding 2022 season where she reached the finals of both the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open.

Cameras spotted Jabeur dropping to her knees in apparent despair in the halls of Rod Laver Arena after leaving the court following her loss to Vondrousova.

The Tunisian skipped the mandatory post-match press conference, but opened up on her emotion and condition on Instagram on Friday.

"Despite the health issues, I will keep fighting and come back stronger and stronger," Jabeur posted on Instagram. "Time to recover and get healthier."

Ons Jabeur became the latest big-name casualty at the Australian Open when she suffered a second-round defeat to Marketa Vondrousova.

Jabeur has been hampered by knee and back injuries at the start of the season and the second seed suffered more pain on Rod Laver Arena, where the excellent Vondrousova sealed a 6-1 5-7 6-1 win in the early hours of Friday morning in Melbourne.

Vondrousova has been troubled by multiple wrist injuries since she was a runner-up at the French Open in 2019, but appears to have put those issues behind her.

The Czech left-hander dominated the first and final sets after Jabeur showed her fighting spirit in the second to force a decider at Melbourne Park.

A runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, tenacious Tunisian Jabeur appeared to be in some pain and struggling for breath during a match in which she made 50 unforced errors.

The world number two struck 27 winners to her opponent's 17, but followed the likes of Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud and Emma Raducanu in making early exits when she overcooked a forehand.

Vondrousova, ranked 78th after an injury-hit 2022 season in which missed three of the four grand slams, will face compatriot Linda Fruhvirtova in round three.

 

Ons Jabeur said a knee problem presents her with "a great challenge" at the Australian Open as she looks to reach a third successive grand slam final.

Tamara Zidansek, the world number 98, gave Jabeur plenty to think about in round one on Tuesday, but the Slovenian eventually faded as the second seed came through a 7-6 (10-8) 4-6 6-1 winner.

Two hours and 17 minutes will have been longer than Jabeur wanted to stay out on Rod Laver Arena, but she was pleased to at least finish strongly.

The Tunisian is making a habit of getting through to major finals, losing to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon and Iga Swiatek at the US Open, but she dearly wants to be a winner on such an occasion.

That may still happen in Australia, but Jabeur had taping on her right knee and may find it is beyond her to go deep into the tournament this fortnight. She said the performance was "not the way I wanted to play", and there seems little doubt the knee was a factor.

"It's not a big injury, but sometimes it might bother me," Jabeur said.

"I try to take it one day at a time. It's a great challenge. I'm going to challenge myself and see if I cannot play 100 per cent, but we'll try to push and be able to do something with it for sure."

Her back has also been an issue in recent weeks, and Jabeur had the crowd in creases by saying she would demand a late-night massage from her husband. She quickly clarified that was all she was asking from him, pointing out he is her fitness coach.

Jabeur expects to have a "light practice" on Wednesday ahead of facing Marketa Vondrousova or Alison Riske-Amritraj in round two the following day.

In the second set, she trailed 5-3 but snatched a break back and would have hoped to then get the job done in straight sets, only to be broken herself.

Iga Swiatek, the top seed, was in a similar situation in her opener against Jule Niemeier on Monday, managing to get the job done in two rather than go to a decider.

"It's nice to see Iga from 5-3 [winning] 7-5. I wanted to do that today, but I'm not Iga," Jabeur said. "Better 6-1 in the third set."

Iga Swiatek starts the Australian Open as almost as strong a favourite to win the women's singles as Novak Djokovic is for the men's event.

Considering Djokovic is a nine-time champion in Melbourne, and Swiatek has never reached the final, that is some going and indicative of the Polish player's dominance on the WTA Tour over the last 11 months.

Swiatek ended last year with eight titles to her name, winning the French Open and US Open among them, and the 21-year-old has accrued more than twice as many ranking points as the next player on the WTA list, Ons Jabeur.

Her ascent to become the dominant woman in tennis has been remarkable, and Swiatek has also earned admiration for her efforts to raise funds for children in war-hit Ukraine.

But is she such an outstanding favourite for the Melbourne Park title as the odds-makers have it?

Since the US Open, she has been a champion at just one – modest by her standards – of the four tournaments she has contested, including the United Cup team event.

Here, Stats Perform looks at five others who might have a say in the destination of the year's first major.

Jessica Pegula

Swiatek was reduced to tears after a 6-2 6-2 drubbing by Pegula on January 6 at the United Cup, her first loss of the year.

She later described Pegula's performance as "the perfect match", and will hope the American cannot always rise to that level.

"It's always hard when you lose, especially when you're playing for the team and your country," Swiatek said at the time, explaining her post-match tears.

Swiatek had won all four of the matches they contested in 2022, dropping only one set, with quarter-final wins on the way to her two grand slam triumphs included in that set.

The result in Sydney, therefore, might have been just a blip, but Pegula is number three in the world for a reason, and Swiatek will surely want to avoid her over the coming fortnight.

Coco Gauff

Is now Gauff's time? There's a question that has been buzzing around the tennis circuit for at least a couple of seasons, despite the American being just 18 years old.

Time, it should be clear, is firmly on her side. She soared to fourth in the rankings in October but has slipped a little since, while remaining firmly established in the top 10.

Given her great talent, Gauff should be resident in the top 10 for many years to come, so we can afford to wait before watching her fly. The sometimes-erratic forehand remains in need of fine-tuning, and Gauff began this year with just two career singles titles to her name after missing out on a trophy in the 2022 season.

However, she reached a first grand slam final last June, losing to Swiatek in Paris, and began 2023 by capturing a title in Auckland where, as top seed, she made light work of the field.

The victory made her the sixth American player to secure three or more WTA-level titles before turning 19 in the last 40 years, after slam winners Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Venus and Serena Williams.

That is some company for Gauff, who will face Katerina Siniakova in the first rout in Melbourne, to be keeping, and her time will come. It might even come in Melbourne.

 

Ons Jabeur

After finishing runner-up to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon and Swiatek at the US Open, Jabeur is targeting a third successive slam final.

The Tunisian would win most popularity contests on the Tour, but she wants one of the big trophies now, and has to be seen as a strong contender in Australia.

Her preparations took a knock with a loss to 18-year-old Czech Linda Noskova at Adelaide International 1, but that will only have made Jabeur work harder in the build-up to the major.

She was gutted to have to pull out of the Australian Open with a back injury last year, and a first-round loss at the French Open followed, but Jabeur came good at the next two majors, albeit falling at the final hurdle.

Aryna Sabalenka

At this time last year, Sabalenka was in crisis, her serve a massive weakness as she struggled to deliver the ball safely.

She recovered from going a set down in three consecutive matches at the Australian Open before losing a rollicking tussle in round four with Estonian veteran and upset specialist Kaia Kanepi.

Sabalenka served a wretched 15 double faults in that match, which was sadly more or less par for her in the early stages of the 2022 season, but the Belarusian got her act together, overcome those yips, and finished the year strongly.

A semi-final run at the US Open was followed by an appearance in the WTA Finals title match, where she lost a close encounter with Caroline Garcia.

Sabalenka began this year not with the serving jitters, but with the Adelaide International 1 title, not dropping a set all week.

She has a big game and with it growing confidence. At the age of 24, she should be entering her prime years, and 2023 could be a special 12 months for the woman with the tiger tattoo.

Zheng Qinwen

The WTA's 2022 Newcomer of the Year winner, Zheng is a 20-year-old Chinese player who could soon follow in the footsteps of compatriot Li Na and begin scooping the biggest prizes in tennis.

How soon? Well, probably not quite yet, but then again very few picked out the then 54th-ranked Swiatek to win the 2020 French Open, the moment that launched her to stardom.

Zheng has rocketed to 30th in the rankings, having begun last year at 126th on the WTA list, and should be considered capable of halving her ranking over this season.

She first came to major prominence at the French Open, when she defeated Simona Halep and for a while also had Swiatek's number in their fourth-round match, winning the first set before menstrual cramps and a leg problem caused her to lose momentum.

The WTA Tour is a learning curve and slam-level success might not come immediately for Zheng, but that newcomer award came her way because she is a player shaping up to have a big say in the sport's future. Along with the likes of Gauff and Swiatek, she could still be a big factor in a decade's time.

Nine-time champion Novak Djokovic will make his return to the Australian Open against Spain's world number 75 Roberto Carballes Baena.

After being deported from Australia last year amid a row over his refusal of a COVID-19 vaccination, Djokovic is firmly back in favour and chasing history in Melbourne, with a record-equalling 22nd men's singles grand slam in his sights.

He begins against an opponent who in four previous main draw appearances has only ever won one singles match at Melbourne Park.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal, whose 22 slam titles Djokovic is seeking to match, has a tricky opener against rising British star Jack Draper, the world number 40.

Second seed Casper Ruud will tackle Czech Tomas Machac first up, with the 115th-ranked player unlikely to prove too daunting an obstacle for last season's French Open and US Open runner-up.

Fifth seed Andrey Rublev could face an awkward assignment against wildcard and former US Open winner Dominic Thiem, while Australia's Nick Kyrgios begins against Russian Roman Safiullin.

Neither 13th seed Matteo Berrettini nor five-time runner-up Andy Murray would have been delighted to be paired together, but that is what happened in Thursday's draw.

In the women's singles, top seed Iga Swiatek starts her bid for a first Australian Open title against Germany's Jule Niemeier, who caught the eye last year on a run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

American seventh seed Coco Gauff starts against Czech Katerina Siniakova, while Jessica Pegula, Gauff's third-seeded compatriot who recently beat Swiatek in the United Cup, will face Belgian Jaqueline Cristian.

Gauff could face former US Open winner Emma Raducanu in the second round. Unseeded Briton Raducanu starts against Germany's Tamara Korpatsch.

Former champions Sofia Kenin and Victoria Azarenka go head to head in the first round, with American Kenin unseeded this year and Belarusian Azarenka the 24th seed.

Azarenka's compatriot Aryna Sabalenka is fancied to do well, having banished last year's serving yips, and the fifth seed starts against Czech Tereza Martincova.

Tunisian second seed Ons Jabeur, runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open, begins her latest quest for an elusive grand slam title against Slovenian world number 88 Tamara Zidansek.

Former US Open winner Bianca Andreescu is unseeded in Australia and Czech 25th seed Marie Bouzkova drew a possible short straw by getting the Canadian in round one.

Coco Gauff marched into ASB Classic final with an emphatic defeat of Danka Kovinic, while Linda Noskova upset Ons Jabeur to set up an Adelaide International showdown with Aryna Sabalenka.

Gauff beat Kovinic 6-0 6-2 to move into her first hard-court final since claiming the title in Linz back in October 2019.

The top seed from the United States won the first eight games of a one-sided semi-final, making another statement just over a week before the Australian Open gets under way.

Gauff took only 73 minutes to dispatch seventh seed Kovinic and will face qualifier Rebeka Masarova in the final on Sunday.

Spaniard Masarova reached her first WTA Tour final courtesy of a 6-3 6-3 victory over Ysaline Bonaventure.

The 130-ranked Masarova, a junior French Open singles champion in 2016, served with assurance and struck 16 winners to break new ground.

It was also a memorable Saturday for Czech teenager Noskova, who claimed the scalp of world number two Jabeur with a 6-3 1-6 6-3 victory in Adelaide.

It was the 18-year-old Noskova's second win over a top-10 opponent this week, having also knocked out Daria Kasatkina.

Second seed Sabalenka will be a strong favourite to deny world number 102 Noskova the title on Sunday after she saw off Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-2.

 

Teenage Czech qualifier Linda Noskova upset former world number one Victoria Azarenka to set up a semi-final showdown with Ons Jabeur at the Adelaide International.

In a match lasting almost three hours, Noskova triumphed 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (8-6) to continue a dream run in Australia.

Noskova has already beaten third seed Daria Kasatkina in Adelaide and, on only her sixth appearance in a WTA main draw, has won five straight matches.

Further progress will be no easy feat, with top seed Jabeur – a losing finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2022 – grinding out a 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk.

On the other side of the draw, second seed Aryna Sabalenka held off a resurgent Marketa Vondrousova to win 6-3 7-5. The Belarusian had led 4-1 in the second set before losing four of the next five games and failing on match point prior to finally seeing it out.

Irina-Camelia Begu defeated fourth seed Veronika Kudermetova 7-5 6-4 to set up a last-four clash with Sabalenka.

At the ASB Classic in Auckland, top seed Coco Gauff outclassed Zhu Lin 6-3 6-2, winning 90 per cent of first-serve points, firing down eight aces, and not giving up a single break point.

Seventh seed Danka Kovinic also won 6-3 6-2 against Viktoria Kuzmova to set up a semi-final clash with Gauff, while world number 95 Ysaline Bonaventure ousted third seed Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-2 to reach a first Tour-level semi-final where Rebeka Masarova awaits.

Emma Raducanu was in tears as she retired with an ankle injury at the ASB Classic 11 days before the Australian Open starts, while Coco Gauff beat Sofia Kenin to reach the quarter-finals.

Raducanu dished out a bagel to qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova in the first set of the round of 16 match in Auckland on Thursday, but the 2021 US Open champion was unable to continue after losing the second set 7-5.

The 20-year-old Brit ended a disappointing 2022 season early due to a wrist injury and suffered another blow ahead of the first major of this year, leaving the court in tears.

Gauff will be eyeing her maiden grand slam title in 2023 and she impressively dispatched fellow American Kenin 6-4 6-4 in the second round in the capital of New Zealand.

Top seed Gauff and her compatriot were forced to play indoors due to the rain and it was the 18-year-old who prevailed, breaking three times and saving six of the break points she faced.

The teenager will face Zhu Lin of China for a place in the semi-finals after she beat Venus Williams 3-6 6-2 7-5.

Leylah Fernandez inflicted a crushing 6-0 6-1 defeat on Julia Grabher after losing only two games in her first-round win over Brenda Fruhvirtova and the Canadian will now face Ysaline Bonaventure, who defeated Rebecca Marino in three sets.

Top seed Ons Jabeur made a winning start to the season at the Adelaide International, seeing off Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 to set up a meeting with Marta Kostyuk

Irina-Camelia Begu claimed the scalp of Jelena Ostapenko with a 6-3 6-0 upset of the seventh seed, while Victoria Azarenka was a 6-2 7-5 winner against Zheng Qinwen and teenager Linda Noskova got past Claire Liu in straight sets.

Chris Evert has backed her long-time rival and friend Martina Navratilova to win her latest cancer battle.

American tennis great Evert, who completed her own course of chemotherapy treatment in May after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, said Navratilova's "strength and resilience" would stand her in good stead.

Navratilova has been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer, she announced on Monday. The Czech-American successfully underwent treatment for breast cancer in 2010 and has said the condition is "serious but still fixable" this time.

Evert's battles with Navratilova in the 1970s and 1980s provided one of the all-time great tennis rivalries.

Both women ended their careers with 18 grand slam singles titles, with Navratilova triumphing a record nine times at Wimbledon. Only Steffi Graf (22) and Serena Williams (23) have won more singles majors among women in the Open Era.

Evert posted on Twitter: "Thinking of @Martina today and supporting her journey, like she did mine, with love and prayers. This is a woman who takes on challenges with strength and resilience…You got this, Martina."

Former US Open champion Tracy Austin sent "prayers and hugs", adding: "Don’t know too many stronger, I know you got this my friend."

Navratilova's long-time former doubles partner Pam Shriver added: "@Martina knows how to put together a winning team. While the news today is difficult, Martina understands how to compete, and take care of herself.

"Her loving family and many friends are ready to support her journey one day at a time. You have this partner!"

Ons Jabeur, who was runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last season, said she was "sending my love and my support".

Maria Sakkari had no issues in her last WTA Finals group stage match against Ons Jabeur, cruising through to the final-four with a 6-2 6-3 victory on Friday.

Sakkari needed only 69 minutes for the straight-sets win, making it her third straight-sets triumph in the Nancy Richey Group after also blowing past Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula.

Greece's Sakkari took advantage of some wastefulness from Jabeur, with the Tunisian posting 19 unforced errors with just eight errors. Her efficiency did not improve in the second set, managing only three winners with 12 unforced errors.

Sakkari's serve was a weapon throughout, landing 70 per cent of her first-serves fair and converting 82 per cent of those chances (27-of-33) into points.

Jabeur could have advanced through to the next round with a win, but instead Aryna Sabalenka will advance with Sakkari out of the Nancy Richey Group.

The only other player yet to lose a set in the tournament is Iga Swiatek in the Tracy Austin Group – who has only played two matches so far.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Sakkari - 11/10

Jabeur - 11/31

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Sakkari - 2/2

Jabeur - 0/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Sakkari - 4/7

Jabeur - 1/2

World number two Ons Jabeur kept her chances of WTA Finals success intact as she came from behind to defeat Jessica Pegula.

Having lost to Aryna Sabalenka in her opening match in Fort Worth, US Open and Wimbledon runner-up Jabeur was staring down a group-stage exit from the tournament when she found herself 1-6 2-3 down halfway through the second set on Wednesday.

Yet the 28-year-old hit back to triumph 1-6 6-3 6-3 over her American opponent, the world number three, who has now lost both of her matches in the Nancy Richey group.

Jabeur reeled off four straight games to take the momentum and, after fending off four break points to hold serve in the first game of the deciding set, did not look back, clinching a decisive break to nose 5-3 ahead.

A stray Pegula cross-court forehand wrapped up Jabeur's comeback win, and the Tunisian, who is aiming to become the first African player to reach the semi-finals at the season-ending tournament, can now turn focus to her final group game against Maria Sakkari, who she has faced three times previously, losing twice. 

Jabeur's victory was her third against a top-three opponent, after beating Simona Halep in 2018 and Karolina Pliskova in 2020, while only world number one Iga Swiatek has won more matches this season (47).

BREAK POINTS WON

Jabeur - 4/10

Pegula - 4/9

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Jabeur - 27/29

Pegula - 11/16

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Jabeur - 1/2

Pegula - 0/5

Aryna Sabalenka fought from a set behind to come back and defeat Ons Jabeur 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 in their first match of the WTA Finals on Monday.

Sabalenka, 24, has now won her past three matches against Jabeur, and this time around it was her ability to limit the effectiveness of the Tunisian's serve that turned the tide.

Jabeur's serve dominated the opening set, winning 73 per cent (16-of-22) of her service points while not allowing Sabalenka a single break point opportunity.

The second set was a different story, as some double faults crept into Jabeur's game and her success rate on her service points dipped to 51 per cent (24-of-47), allowing Sabalenka to break three times before forcing a decider with a close tiebreaker.

Sabalenka finally got on top in the third set, narrowly edging the total points count 37 to 31 in the frame while converting both of her break point chances to finish off the victory.

She now sits second in the Group B standings, trailing Maria Sakkari due to the Greek winning her match in straight sets.

BREAK POINTS WON

Sabalenka - 5/8

Jabeur - 6/10

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Sabalenka - 21/26

Jabeur - 37/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Sabalenka - 1/6

Jabeur - 7/5

There will be one racing certainty when the WTA Finals gets under way: a new champion will be crowned.

Iga Swiatek heads the list of contenders to carry off the trophy in Fort Worth, Texas, having enjoyed a spectacular season.

Ascendant Americans Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff will be chasing a home victory, while Tunisia's Ons Jabeur has reached finals at Wimbledon and the US Open so loves the big occasion.

Ahead of the tournament getting under way on Monday, Stats Perform has taken a look at the eight-player field.

Swiatek still the player to beat

With no past winner in the line-up, there is every reason to look to the world number one, Swiatek, as favourite.

The 21-year-old Polish player has eight titles this year, lifting trophies at Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome, the French Open, the US Open and San Diego.

Indeed, she is the only grand slam singles winner in the draw, with Ash Barty having retired and Elena Rybakina absent after no ranking or race points were awarded at Wimbledon, where she was a surprise champion.

Rybakina's absence calls into question the meritocracy of this year's tournament, which is intended to showcase the top performers on tour, yet there can be no doubt the season's premier performer is in the draw.

French Open and US Open winner Swiatek's remarkable run of 10 straight-sets victories in finals (dating back to the 2020 French Open) was finally ended by Barbora Krejcikova, who sprang a shock by winning in Ostrava in early October.

But by getting back to winning ways a week later in San Diego, scrapping for a three-set victory over Donna Vekic in the title match, Swiatek produced a typically impressive response, beating Qinwen Zheng, Gauff and Pegula on her way through the draw to improve to 64-8 in her win-loss record for the year.

Here is a measure of her dominance this season: Swiatek headed the 'Race to the WTA Finals' rankings with 10,335 points, with the players in second (Jabeur) to eighth place (Daria Kasatkina) having tallies ranging between 4,555 and 2,935 points.

Is Pegula the chief rival to Swiatek?

She might not have been the player that would have sprung to mind even a month ago, but Pegula's victory at the Guadalajara Open this month was an eye-opener.

Beginning by saving match points in a thrilling three-setter against Rybakina, Pegula took down grand slam winners Bianca Andreescu, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka before swatting aside Maria Sakkari in the final.

Pegula has reached quarter-finals at the Australian, French and US Opens in 2022, and she has a tour-high 39 wins in WTA 1000 events since the beginning of last year.

She is up to third in the WTA rankings, one ahead of Coco Gauff, with the United States now having two women in the top five for the first time since October 2010, when Serena Williams was number two and sister Venus sat fourth.

As Pegula said after the Guadalajara final: "I'm definitely a very ambitious person. A little bit of a perfectionist, as well. I don't think you could win if you weren't ambitious, especially at this level.

"I feel like it's going to give me more motivation going forward knowing I can win these big titles. I think it will give me a lot of confidence ending the year, going into next year."

These are spirited words. She heads into the tournament with a 0-4 record against Swiatek in 2022, however.

Who's in, who's out, what's it all about?

As well as Swiatek and Pegula, the field for the eight-day tournament includes Caroline Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka and Sakkari, who have all featured at the WTA Finals in the past.

Four players make their debuts, including Pegula, who is joined as a newcomer by Jabeur, Gauff and Daria Kasatkina.

Gauff, 18, has become the 14th player aged under 19 to reach the WTA top five since the rankings were introduced in 1975.

She would not be the youngest WTA Finals champion, were she to lift the title, as Monica Seles has a tight grip on that record, having triumphed at the age of 16 years and 11 months at the 1990 edition.

Last year's champion Garbine Muguruza is absent. The Spaniard was expected by many to push on and enjoy a stellar 2022 season, but it did not play out that way, with the former French Open and Wimbledon winner sliding to 57th in the world rankings after a dismal campaign.

It goes to show that whoever prevails in Fort Worth, we should be cautious about treating the outcome as an indication of what to expect in the new year.

Home favourite Ons Jabeur was on the end of a big upset at the Jasmin Open on Friday as the world number two was eliminated by Claire Liu in the quarter-finals.

Jabeur saw off Ann Li and Evgeniya Rodina in straight sets to reach the last eight, but Liu – ranked 73 in the world – came out on top 6-3 4-6 6-4.

Liu is now into her second semi-final of the season and will face Elise Mertens, who defeated Moyuka Uchijima 6-0 3-6 6-4 in the final match of the day.

Second and third seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Alize Cornet will meet in the other semi after beating Diane Parry and Tamara Zidansek respectively in straight sets.

At the Ostrava Open, meanwhile, tournament favourite Iga Swiatek reached her 10th semi-final of the year with a 6-4 6-4 victory over qualifier Caty McNally.

Swiatek needed nearly two hours to seal her 59th victory of the season – just one short of tying Caroline Wozniacki, the most recent female to hit 60 wins in a calendar year (2017).

She will now face Ekaterina Alexandrova, who proved too strong for Tereza Martincova in a 6-1 4-6 6-1 victory.

Another grand slam winner in Barbora Krejcikova earlier beat Alycia Parks 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 on home soil to maintain her positive form, a week after triumphing at the Tallinn Open.

Awaiting her in the semi-finals is Elena Rybakina following the reigning Wimbledon champion's 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory against Petra Kvitova.

Anett Kontaveit and Maria Sakkari were both knocked out of the Ostrava Open on Thursday as several top seeds tumbled.

Third seed Kontaveit, who won this competition last year, retired when a set down to Tereza Martincova, while world number seven Maria Sakkari was defeated 5-7 7-5 7-5 by 21-year-old American Alycia Parks in a big upset.

Parks lost the opener but found two crucial breaks of serve when 6-5 up in both the second and third sets to eliminate the fourth seed.

The withdrawal of Belinda Bencica – seeded sixth – with a foot injury put Barbora Krejcikova into the quarter-finals, while Ekaterina Alexandrova will also be in the last eight after overcoming fifth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-1 7-6 (7-1).

The tournament favourites were in much better form at the Jasmin Open in Tunisia, as the top two seeds sealed their places in the quarter-finals with straight-sets wins.

Favourite Ons Jabeur cruised to a 6-1 6-3 victory over Evgeniya Rodina, converting four of her seven break points to safely advance to the next round of her home tournament.

And number two seed Veronika Kudermetova eased past Magdalena Frech 6-3 6-4 to set up a quarter-final meeting with Diane Parry.

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