Ons Jabeur advances to second straight Charleston final, Bencic-Pegula held over
Ons Jabeur is into the Charleston final – again.
The Tunisian world No. 5 won a rain-interrupted semifinal over 2017 champion Daria Kasatkina to book her place in Sunday’s championship match at the Credit One Charleston Open, where she awaits the winner of Jessica Pegula and Belinda Bencic.
Bencic, the reigning Charleston champion, led top seed Pegula by a set Saturday evening when the rain that had danced around Daniel Island for much of the day settled in. The two will finish their semi on Sunday, Bencic leading 7-5 6-6, though Pegula is ahead 4-2 in the second-set tiebreak.
Earlier, Jabeur, the No. 2 seed, won 7-5 7-5 in one hour and 47 minutes, though the match was delayed by some four hours over the afternoon due to rainy conditions.
Jabeur becomes the first player since Serena Williams to book back-to-back finals (2012-13), and – should Bencic win – the tournament will see it’s first repeat final in consecutive years.
Bencic beat Jabeur in a three-set classic in 2022.
Jabeur gets her first Top 10 win of the season against the world No. 8, and has now won 10 of her last 12 semifinals. Jabeur also wins her 37th clay court match since 2020, which ties tour leader Iga Swiatek in that timeframe.
Jabeur trailed 3-5 and faced down two set points when the players came back from a four-and-a-half hour delay.
“I gotta thank the rain,” Jabeur joked on court. “I had to talk to my coach a bit and he gave me advice as to what to do. My game was there, but I just needed to find something small. I was more patient [after the delay].”
The match was full of twists and turns – both on the scoreboard and in strategy. Jabeur went back to the drop shot off of both wings often, the two playing chess on the green clay. Kasatkina was hampered by just 47% first serve percentage, getting broken seven times in the match.
“It was a tough match, [it’s] never easy to play Daria,” Jabeur added. “It’s so tough to finish one point. And I was pretty patient and stayed with the ball.”
She said about being back in the final: “It feels amazing.”
Back in the #CharlestonOpen final 🙌
— Credit One Charleston Open (@CharlestonOpen) April 8, 2023