Ons Jabeur vows to keep fighting after loss in US Open final

NEW YORK (AP) — Ons Jabeur dropped her racket in disgust after one poor shot in the U.S. Open final. Minutes later, she was on the court right along with it after lunging to hit a volley that flew out of bounds.

Jabeur picked herself up and kept on fighting Saturday, and that’s exactly what she intends to do after a second straight Grand Slam tournament ended in disappointment.

“Definitely I’m not someone that’s going to give up,” Jabeur said. “I am sure I’m going to be in the final again. I will try my best to win it. I’m not sure, but I know I will do my best.”

Her best wasn’t good enough against top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who won 6-2, 7-6 (5) for her second major title this year and third overall.

Jabeur is still trying for her first, having come up short at Wimbledon in her initial attempt. The No. 5 seed had mostly rolled through the U.S. Open, dropping just one set before running into the best player in the sport.

“It was a closer match than it looks, said Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, including at the 1994 U.S. Open, who has been sitting in Jabeur’s guest box and offering advice during the tournament.

“Now she needs to take the positives. If she keeps going and does the right things, the next one will come.”

Jabeur said she felt even more nervous before this final than her first, where she fell to Elena Rybakina in three sets at the All England Club in July. After becoming the first woman since Serena Williams to reach the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals in the same year since 2019, she worked on trying to keep herself calm, so couldn’t question her preparation. She wasn’t even particularly disappointed with her execution.

“To be honest with you, I have nothing to regret because I did everything possible,” Jabeur said.

The Tunisian will move to No. 2 in the WTA rankings next week. But she really wants that Grand Slam trophy, which would be the first by an African and Arab woman in the professional era, which dates to 1968.

Doing so, she said, would “really show that it’s not impossible for someone coming from my country, from my continent, to have that title.”

She will hope to start better in her next chance, having spotted Swiatek 3-0 leads in both sets Saturday. Jabeur said during the trophy presentation that she didn’t like the native of Poland, though she showed there were no hard feelings later during her upbeat news conference.

“I was joking when I said I don’t like her,” Jabeur said. “I’ll forgive her when she gives me a Rolex or something.”

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AP Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

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