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Ajla Tomljanović falls to scrappy, straight sets defeat to Ons Jabeur in the US Open women's quarterfinal

Australia's Ajla Tomljanović's US Open run comes to an end, as Tunisia's Ons Jabeur seals victory in a tie-break to move through to the last four. 

Ajla Tomljanović's US Open run has come to an end as Tunisia's Ons Jabeur sealed victory in two sets to move through to the last four at Flushing Meadows.

In a scrappy match, during which neither woman played their best, world number five Jabeur had just enough poise to manoeuvre herself into a second-straight grand slam semi-final, winning 6-4, 6-7 (7-4). 

It was far from straight forward though, as Tomljanović's dogged perseverance frustrated her higher-ranked opponent enough for her to repeatedly throw her racquet on the ground, earning some boos from the Arthur Ashe stadium crowd.

"I think I'm going to be fired from my job as minister of happiness," she said on court with a smile.

"It is tough to manage sometimes, the frustration.

"Tennis is a tough sport I apologise for my behaviour. 

"I wanted to keep calm but my racquet kept slipping from my hand," she added with a smile.

Jabeur may have been frustrated by Tomljanović's continued effort, but in reality she was her own worst enemy.

With a first serve average at just 41 per cent, Jabeur coughed up six break points for the match, four of them in a torrid second set that went all the way down to the wire.

Tunisian tennis player Ons Jabeur pumps her fist as she looks downcourt after a point at the US Open.
World number five Ons Jabeur proved too strong for Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in the US Open quarter-finals.(AP: Julia Nikhinson)

The problem was that while Jabeur clearly struggled for rhythm — hitting 30 unforced errors to 29 winners —Tomljanović too suffered from a jittery service game.

The 29-year-old Aussie hit nine double faults while serving at 57 per cent for her first serve. 

That, combined with her winning just 34 per cent of points on her second serve and hitting 23 unforced errors, meant Tomljanović was always up against it.

Yet despite those stats, Tomljanović made Jabeur work for her win, staying in lengthy rallies that occasionally bought out the best of both women, showing off their full repertoire of drop shots, slices and brutal baseline hitting.

"I know physically it is going to be a tough match [against Tomljanović]," Jabeur said on court after the match.

"Even emotionally it was kinda tough to manage the frustration … when you have breaks and you want to finish it.

"She keeps fighting and she makes it tough for me."

For Tomljanović — who broke Jabeur thre times in the final set — the defeat ends a remarkable run in which she accounted for departing legend Serena Williams and one of the form hard court players in the world, Ludmilla Samsonova.

She had though, over the course of her endeavours in New York, spent more than nine hours on court compared to just over six hours for Jabeur.

It was her second grand slam quarter-final appearance in a row and has proven that the world number 46 has the game to match it with some of the best in the business.

The only unseeded quarterfinalist at Flushing Meadows, Tomljanović can now turn her attention to improving her standing at her home slam.

Tomljanović has never progressed past the second round at Melbourne Park.

Look back on how all the action unfolded as it happened in our blog.

Key events
Live updates
8h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 9:19pm

By Simon Smale

That's where we'll wrap things up
Ajla Tomljanović and Ons Jabeur hug each other
Getty Images

OK team, thanks for being with me for this early, early start.

It's a shame for Ajla Tomljanović that she couldn't get over the line, perhaps the events of the week prior have caught up with her.

In truth, there were too many errors on first serve from the Aussie, in a match where both women struggled for form.

Was that a missed opportunity for Ajla Tomljanović to reach a first grand slam semi final? Perhaps.

Nethertheless, it's a second grand slam quarter final in a row for the 29-year-old, and third in the last two seasons, which means she's definitely moving in the right direction.

We'll be back a bit later for the Nick Kyrgios vs Karen Khachanov quarter final, so we hope you'll join us then.

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8h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 9:06pm

By Simon Smale

Ons Jabeur speaks

Lets hear from Ons Jabeur.

She's the first woman from Africa to ever reach a US Open semi final.

"Ajla plays really good," she says,

"I know physically it is going to be a tough match [against her].

"She keeps fighting and makes it tough for me."

She says it was emotional and frustrating as she failed to convert break points while playing against her good friend.

"I think I'm going to be fired from my job as minister of happiness," she says.

"It is tough to manage, sometime the frustration, tennis is a tough sport I apologise for my behavior.

"I wanted to keep calm but my racquet kept slipping from my hand."

In the tie break, she says she just kept believing and to thing about the breaks she had earlier in the match.

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8h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 9:00pm

By Simon Smale

Key Event

Ons Jabeur wins in straight sets, 6-4, 6-7 (4)
Ons Jabeur clenches her fist
Getty Images

Jabeur was just a bit too good against Tomljanović, but in truth that was a match in which the woman who made the least errors was going to come out on top.

It was not a great performance, particularly on first serves.

Jabeur only got 41 per cent of her first serves in. When she did, she won 71 per cent of her points, including four aces. But in truth, they were few and far between.

There were 30 unforced errors from the Tunisian, against 29 winners.

Tomljanović got 57 per cent of her serves in, won 63 per cent of the points when she did get it in, made 23 unforced errors and hit just 12 winners.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:53pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 6-6 Ons Jabeur, second set tie break

Jabeur gets the first point, Tomljanović going long. 1-0.

Mini break back though from Tomljanović as Jabeur goes long 1-1.

Jabeur goes long this time and we're on serve in the tie break - it's another error from Jabeur and 2-1 Tomljanović.

Second serve from Tomljanović, who has to defend but Jabeur is too good, hitting a winner into the open court, 2-2.

Jabeur's return is out, 3-2 Tomljanović.

Tomljanović attacls the second serve, finds the line but then sends her final shot just long! 3-3.

Tomljanović sees a second serve, but hits her second shot into the net. Never looked comfortable there, the Aussie. 4-3 Jabeur.

Tomljanović hist another double fault, her ninth. 5-3 Jabeur.

Power from the Aussie! She battered Jabeur into submission there, landing a power shot on the baseline. 5-4.

Unreturnable first serve though from Jabeur. 6-4, match point.

Tomljanović finds the net and it's over!

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:50pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 6-5 Ons Jabeur*, 4-6

Jabeur serving to force a tie break.

Good rally, the slices are out and Jabeur nets. 0-15.

Better serve from Jabeur, Tomljanović nets, 15-15.

Too long from Tomljanović as she attacks the second serve. 30-15.

Long again from Tomljanović as Jabeur finds her first serve. 40-15.

Deep shots from Jabeur and Tomljanović sends her shot wide.

We're going to a tie break.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:49pm

By Simon Smale

*Ajla Tomljanović 5-5 Ons Jabeur, 4-6

Ajla Tomljanović needs to hold here.

She gets the first point (off a first serve) when Jabeur goes long. 15-0.

Another first serve in, another point to Ajla Tomljanović, another racquet throw from Ons Jabeur, more booing. 30-0.

Ace! First of the match from Ajla Tomljanović! 40-0.

Oh what a net cord for Jabeur, the ball just dropping over the line. Jabeur raises her hand. 40-15.

It doesn't matter though as Ajla Tomljanović gets the one-two punch and wins the game!

That's the first game in a long time, if not of the game as a whole, where Ajla Tomljanović has hit all her first serves in. Remarkable.

Tomljanovic clenches her fist
Getty Images
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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:45pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 5-4 Ons Jabeur*, 4-6

Lovely winner from Ons Jabeur, opening up the court again and forcing Tomljanović wide, 15-0.

Jabeur nets after a solid rally, 15-15.

She's serving to stay in this set, which given how both women have served today is no certainty.

Another second serve, Tomljanović from the baseline, invites Jabeur in and the Tunisian hits a certain winner long! 15-30.

Oh my word that had to be close! Ajla Tomljanović opening up on the second serve and landing a forehand just outside the tramlines. 30-30. Fine margins.

A first serve from Jabeur results in a point, 40-30.

Tomljanović attacks the second serve, but Jabeur gets on top in the game with some powerful shots out wide and that game has swung back to the number five seed, it's 5-5.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:39pm

By Simon Smale

*Ajla Tomljanović 5-3 Ons Jabeur, 4-6

Double fault, Ajla Tomljanović's seventh of the match. 0-15.

Long now with her second shot of the second rally, Tomljanović is in a hole again on serve. 0-30.

Great rally from Jabeur, working the slice to her advantage and then powering a cross-court shot that has Ajla Tomljanović hitting long. 0-40.

Double fault again, Ajla Tomljanović had a chance then and just threw it away rather meekly.

Ajla Tomljanovic looks up
Getty Images

Back on serve.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:35pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 4-3 Ons Jabeur* 4-6

A first serve in from Jabeur, and Tomljanović sends her return long. 15-0.

Jabeur's first serve percentage this set is 38 per cent. That's poor.

Tomljanović capitalises on another second serve 15-15.

Another second serve and Tomljanović hits the winner 15-30.

Ace! That's how you respond, her fourth ace of the match. 30-30.

Great rally, both women mixed things up with some slices in the middle part, went back to the power and then it's Jabeur who blinks first and sends her shot long! Break point! 30-40.

Great rally again and Ajla Tomljanović hits the winner! Superb retrieving and power hitting from the Aussie, what resilience!

She's now serving for the set!

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:30pm

By Simon Smale

*Ajla Tomljanović 3-3 Ons Jabeur 4-6

Jabeur strikes first as she looks to re-establish herself. 0-15.

Wild from Tomljanović, pulling that ball into the crowd 0-30.

Nice winner from Tomljanović down the line! Good forehand winner from the Aussie. 15-30.

Jabeur goes long with a sliced backhand despite getting another look at a second serve - the first serve percentages from both women has been woeful in this match. 30-30.

Tomljanović gets the winner to set up game point, 40-30.

Jabeur sends her return into the tramlines! Tomljanović has the lead in this set for the first time.

Jabeur tosses her racquet to the ground in disgust, and looks like she's stewing over things on her seat between games.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:26pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 2-3 Ons Jabeur* 4-6

Jabeur shows Tomljanović a second serve again and sprays a shot into the tramlines to boot. 0-15

Another second serve, that Tomljanović attacks, Jabeur gets a bit lucky with a defensive lob that lands just in but then takes control of the point and hammers a lovely forehand winner. 15-15.

Another second serve from Jabeur, Tomljanović attacks and Jabeur goes long! A couple of boos as Jabeur shows her frustration. 15-30.

Jabeur serves and volleys, Tomljanović sends her lob just long. 30-30.

Great rally, Tomljanović did so well but sends a cross-court shot wide and shows her annoyance with herself 30-40.

Long from Jabeur! Tomljanović hanging on here. Deuce.

Tomljanović attacks the second serve, and then a nice cross-court shot leaves Jabeur out of position and she can only net her shot. Adv Tomljanović.

Tomljanović attacks the second serve, Jabeur goes long and that's a break back!

Great work from Ajla Tomljanović.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:22pm

By Simon Smale

*Ajla Tomljanović 2-2 Ons Jabeur 4-6

Ajla Tomljanović hits the net off the back of a solid rally, 0-15.

Needless to say, this is a really big game for the Aussie.

First serve in, rally ensues, Ajla Tomljanović from the baseline and Jabeur has to run, finding the tramlines. 15-15.

Jabeur gently slams her racquet into the court - recovering on the bounce.

Double fault. Nightmare stuff from Ajla Tomljanović, handing the initiative straight back. 15-30.

Tomljanović bringing power from the baseline but a forehand it send into the net, two break points. 15-40.

Tomljanović nets and gives the break straight back to Jabeur.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:13pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 1-2 Ons Jabeur*, 4-6

Great defence from Tomljanović, but one of those reaching returns was too short and Jabeur pounced. 15-0.

Tomljanović attacks the second serve but nets. 30-0.

That's better from Tomljanović, attacking that second serve with gusto and hammering a backhand winner down the line. 30-15.

Much better from Tomljanović, attacking from the start of the point to the finish and forcing the Tunisian into a mistake. 30-30.

Good serve wide, the forehand follow, too good from Jabeur 40-30.

Tomljanović pains the lines with some thunderous shots from behind the baseline and that pressure forces the error. Deuce.

Tomljanovic clenches her fist
Getty Images

Jabeur is so good, landing a huge forehand that switched the angles enough to have Tomljanović stretching the backhand and she finds the net Adv Jabeur.

Now Jabeur finds the net on another rally off her second serve, deuce.

Ajla Tomljanović is having to chase and race everywhere on the court, Jabeur making her run and then landing a sucker-punch inside-out forehand winner. Adv Jabeur.

Shot from Ajla Tomljanović! Big second serve return and Jabeur sends her shot long! Deuce.

Tomljanović attacks the second serve and Jabeur goes long! Advantage to the Aussie.

Jabeur nets! Ajla Tomljanović breaks back!

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:10pm

By Simon Smale

*Ajla Tomljanović 0-2 Ons Jabeur, 4-6

Unreturnable serve from Ajla Tomljanović, 15-0.

Ajla Tomljanović on the offensive from the baseline, then hits a lovely sliced drop shot, Jabeur got there but Tomljanović with the touch to send the ball back over the net to win the point. 30-0.

Another unreturnable first serve, 40-0.

Jabeur attacks the second serve but then finds the net with her second shot.

That's a good response from Ajla Tomljanović, who got a couple of first serves in and reaped the rewards from that.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:05pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 0-1 Ons Jabeur*, 4-6

Jabeur sprays her shot wide off the second serve. 0-15.

Ons Jabeur hits a forehand
Getty Images

Now she goes long off the back of a rally from the baseline, good work from Ajla Tomljanović just sticking in there at the moment. 0-30.

Tomljanović attacks the second serve, but then in the ensuing rally she goes too hard and fires long as Jabeur approached the net. 15-30.

Lovely shot, two handed backhand cross court and Tomljanović didn't, or couldn't, move. 30-30

Nice from Ajla Tomljanović, hitting the winner off the second serve. She needs more of that. Break point. 30-40.

Denied by Jabeur, lovely one-two punch off the serve, allowing her to land the cross court forehand winner. Deuce.

Great defensive tennis from Ajla Tomljanović, who sends two defensive lobs up, but Jabeur didn't panic, hitting an overhand cross court winner that spun away massively from the Aussie. Advantage Jabeur.

Good rally again, Jabeur mixing things up with the slice and then a wonderful change of pace to hit the cross court winner.

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9h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 8:04pm

By Simon Smale

*Ajla Tomljanović 0-0 Ons Jabeur, 4-6

Jabeur starts the second set as she ended the first, winning a decent rally, 0-15.

Jabeur now comes into the net and claims another solid point win, 0-30.

Nice one-two from Ajla Tomljanović, the serve out wide and then the winner into the open court. 15-30.

Ajla Tomljanović attempts to repeat the trick off the next serve, but has to rely on Jabeur finding the net with her second shot. 30-30

Goos rally, great chasing from Ajla Tomljanović, but Ons Jabeur has such great touch, landing a sumptuous drop shot to drag Tomljanović in and then having the time and space to land the winner into the open court. Such soft hands. 30-40.

Double fault! What a time to do it. Jabeur gets the break at the first opporunity.

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10h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 7:59pm

By Simon Smale

Key Event

Ons Jabeur wins the first set
Ons Jabeur clenches her fist
Getty Images

That was a solid if unspectacular performance from the number five seed in that set, winning the first 6-4.

Both women struggled to find their first serves, both operating at 50 per cent or less and that hurt them both.

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10h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 7:57pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 4-5 Ons Jabeur*

Jabeur gets the first serve and, subsequently, gets the point. 15-0.

Good rally develops off the second serve, Jabeur comes to the net and shows her trademark touch and forces Ajla Tomljanović to find the net as she comes in to meet the drop shot. 30-0

SHOT! Tomljanović with a ripper of a forehand return. 30-15.

Ace! 40-15.

Long from Tomljanović and that's the first set to Jabeur!

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10h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 7:53pm

By Simon Smale

*Ajla Tomljanović 3-5 Ons Jabeur

Ajla Tomljanović comes to the net off a second serve, gets a couple of returns back with lightning reactions but then Jabeur finds the open court for the winner 0-15.

Better from Tomljanović, winning the point off a short rally from the first serve 15-15

Bang! Nice defensive play from Tomljanović and then a scintillating backhand winner down the line. 30-15.

Tomljanović gets going with another rally there but sends her shot long 30-30. The first serves are becoming crucial - but finding them is causing both women problems so far.

Good rally off the second serve but it's Jabeur who hits the winner, lovely shot too and that's break point and set point at 30-40.

First serve from Tomljanović, just when she needed it, but a rally ensues and Jabeur goes long! That's the first break point she's failed to convert. 40-40.

Jabeur goes long again, advantage Tomljanović.

Jabeur nets with a sliced drop shot and that's a crucial hold for Tomljanović, who will make Jabeur serve out the set.

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10h agoTue 6 Sep 2022 at 7:50pm

By Simon Smale

Ajla Tomljanović 3-4 Ons Jabeur*

Long from Jabeur, 0-15.

It's a funny match so far, neither woman has sorted their serve out yet.

Jabeur gets on top of the rally and slams a short return home for an easy winner. 15-15.

Shot! That's superb from Ajla Tomljanović, a second serve that she leans into and hammers the winner into the open court down the line. Wonderful shot. 15-30.

Two good serves to back that up from Jabeur, ans suddenly it's game point 40-30.

Tomljanović gets a look at a second serve but the number five seed wins the rally after making the Aussie run from side to side, great control from Jabeur again.

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