Tunisia’s Jabeur lost 6-0 6-2 to Russia’s 16-year-old Andreeva in the second round of the Australian Open.
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur suffered a stunning 6-0 6-2 loss to Russian 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva in the second round of the Australian Open as the sixth seed’s bid to become the first Arab and African woman to win a Grand Slam title lay in tatters.
Andreeva was in tears 12 months ago after losing the girls’ final but cut a much happier figure on her return to Rod Laver Arena as she secured her first top-10 win.
“Today when I saw that I play on Rod Laver, I said that this time I have to take my chance and I have to win on the big court for the first time and so I did,” Andreeva told reporters.
The teenager said her 54-minute victory was probably one of her best performances even if she struggled with nerves at times.
“But I saw that she was nervous too,” Andreeva added. “It kind of helped me, because I know I’m not the only one who is nervous before the match.
“I just decided to enjoy, because it’s Rod Laver Arena and I’m playing against the person that I like. I decided just to play and I think I played okay.”
Jabeur began the match with a big ace down the middle but quickly found herself on the back foot, as her young opponent capitalised on some uncharacteristic errors to cruise through the opening set in 20 minutes conceding only eight points.
In her fourth Grand Slam main draw appearance since making her debut at last year’s French Open, Andreeva showed maturity beyond her years as Jabeur desperately sought answers from her coaching team after the early jolt.
Jabeur – dubbed by fans as Tunisia’s “Minister of Happiness” – swapped her trademark smile for a more determined look and the 29-year-old held early in the next set but there was no stopping Andreeva, who raised her level again and pulled away.
Andreeva reached the Wimbledon fourth round last year and can match her best Grand Slam result with a win over Diane Parry next, but the world number 47 is not getting carried away with her success so far.
“I don’t think that I’ve achieved something incredible,” she said. “Sometimes when I’m lying in bed, I can overthink a little bit but the next morning I’m totally fine.
“I mean, I’m 16. Why do I have to think about the rankings?”
Meanwhile, former Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki was beaten 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 by 20-year-old Russian player Maria Tomafeeva, who is making her main draw Grand Slam singles debut this year.
Wozniacki, who had two children before returning to the WTA Tour last year after 3.5 years away, led by a set and 2-0 before Tomafeeva turned the match around with some devastating hitting, including 40 winners.
“I’m really a bit speechless now,” Tomafeeva said. “It was an honour to play here against Caroline today. I was going into the match without any expectations. I enjoyed every second of it.”
Wozniacki said the match “slid out of my hands… it’s definitely disappointing”.
Jabeur and Wozniacki played their matches under the roof, at Rod Laver Arena and John Cain Arena respectively, with rain delaying matches on the outside courts for three hours.