Monday, July 30, 2012

LONDON 2012: Jaziri and Jabeur go down fighting

Arab tennis received a double blow on Monday when both Malek Jaziri and Ons Jabeur crashed out of the Olympics but they can both find pride in how they fought hard against much higher-ranked opponents.

Who would've though that Jabeur would go down 5-7 in the third against Germany's Sabine Lisicki, or that Jaziri would save six set points against the No10 seed? Well not many people out there, especially with some tweets I've seen today wondering where the country Tunisia was...

It's safe to say they're putting Tunisia on the map with their exploits on the lawns of Wimbledon.

Jabeur may have lost 6-4, 0-6, 5-7 to No15 seed Lisicki, but the 17-year-old Tunisian has sent out a strong signal of her true potential and I can honestly say I can see her as a top-20 WTA player next year.

Ranked 297 and playing her first ever match main draw match at Wimbledon, Jabeur handled the rain delays, the big Lisicki serve, and the unfamiliar grass surface like a pro.

She even held her own after getting bageled in the second set and went up a break in the third set against Lisicki - a semi-finalist in Wimbledon last year and a quarter-finalist in 2009 and 2012 - but ultimately experience had the upper hand and Jabeur will have to wait for her real breakthrough moment on the senior stage.

Jaziri also had a mountain to climb in his second round clash against No10 seed John Isner, who won the contest 7-6, 6-2. The 6'9" American is yet to drop his serve at the London Olympics so it was imperative that Jaziri be prepared to snag that first-set tiebreak.

What really impressed me is how the 28-year-old Tunisian saved all six break points he faced in the first set, especially those on set points when serving at 4-5 and 5-6. His forehand was fierce on some of those breakpoints also displaying the same kind of fearlessness Jabeur has shown.

The second set was a bit of a no contest but there's best-of-three on grass for you. The format is suiting Isner quite well and commentators are already talking medals for the American!

Jaziri ended up with the same fate as Jabeur, but even though the upsets were not meant to be today, I believe they've shown what they're made of  and that they're no pushovers.

They're still a chance the Tunisian pair get into the mixed doubles draw, which comes out Tuesday. Their Olympic dream may not be over yet!

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