Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur loses at Australian Open

Ons Jabeur is the highest-ranked Arab woman in tennis history. She hopes more women from the region will pick up rackets.

al-monitor Tunisia's Ons Jabeur hits a return against Japan's Naomi Osaka during their women's singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Feb. 12, 2021. Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP via Getty Images.

Feb 12, 2021

Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur was knocked out of the Australian Open on Friday. Jabeur is the most successful female tennis player ever from an Arab country.

Jabeur lost to the no. 3 seed and US Open champion Naomi Osaka two sets to none in the women’s singles draw in Melbourne. Jabeur headed into the major hardcourt tennis tournament as the no. 27 seed.

At last year’s Australian Open, Jabeur became the first female tennis player from the Arab world to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tennis tournament. There are four Grand Slam tennis tournaments each year: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Jabeur, who is 26 years old, is also the highest-ranked Arab woman in tennis history and has been the top-ranked woman in Africa for several years, according to the Australian Open.

Other tennis players from North Africa have broken out in the past. Younes El Aynaoui made the quarterfinals of both the Australian Open and the US Open several times in the early 2000s.

Soccer is the dominant sport in Tunisia, but Jabeur’s success could help grow tennis in North Africa and the Arab world.

“My dream is to see a lot more Arab players on tour playing well,” Jabeur told Olympic Channel last year.