Djokovic targets 11th Wimbledon semi-final, Jabeur seeks Arab breakthrough

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London (AFP) – Six-time champion Novak Djokovic is aiming for an 11th Wimbledon semi-final on Tuesday as Ons Jabeur, the latest seed in the top 15 women, is aiming for a historic Arab performance.

Top seed Djokovic will reach his 43rd Slam semi-final if he can beat Jannik Sinner.

The odds are in Djokovic’s favor with the 20-year-old Italian yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals of a major tournament.

“I see myself in his game a bit from the back of the court, playing flat backhand, constantly staying at the back of the line, trying to put pressure on opponents,” Djokovic said.

The Serb easily won the pair’s only previous meeting in straight sets on clay in Monte Carlo last year.

But beanpole Sinner impressively dismissed Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz in the round of 16 on Sunday, saving all seven break points he faced.

Before this Wimbledon, he had never won a match on grass, while physical weaknesses are never far away.

He had to withdraw from his fourth-round match against Andrey Rublev at Roland Garros last month due to a knee injury.

Chasing a first Slam semi-final: Italian Jannik Sinner Adrien DENNISAFP

In Miami, blisters on his feet forced him to retire against Francisco Cerundolo, while an illness in Indian Wells meant he handed a knockdown to Nick Kyrgios.

By making the last eight at Wimbledon, Sinner is following in the footsteps of Matteo Berrettini, who was runner-up to Djokovic last year.

‘Believe in yourself’

Berrettini was the first Italian to reach the quarter-finals since Davide Sanguinetti in 1998.

In Tuesday’s other quarter-final, Britain’s ninth seed Cameron Norrie takes on Belgium’s David Goffin.

The two men are trying to qualify for the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Goffin beat Frances Tiafoe of the United States in Wimbledon’s longest match this year – four hours and 36 minutes – to reach the quarter-finals for the second time.

Goffin missed Wimbledon in 2021 after suffering an ankle injury before a knee problem forced him to end his season after the US Open.

Before this year, his last match at Wimbledon was a sobering quarter-final loss in 2019 to Djokovic, who handed him just six matches.

Meanwhile, world number two Jabeur is the last of the top 15 female seeds remaining in the tournament.

She made the last eight in 2021 and is now looking to reach a first Grand Slam semi-final.

The 27-year-old sailed through the first three rounds before digging deep to save five set points in the opening set of her last 16 clash against Elise Mertens.

She now hopes her progress at the All England Club will inspire other Arab and African players.

“I want them to believe more in themselves and believe they can be here,” Jabeur said.

“I don’t come from a rich family so you have to stop making excuses and go for it, take advantage of it.”

She takes on Marie Bouzkova, the Czech Republic‘s world number 66 who had never progressed beyond the second round of a major.

On mission: the Tunisian Ons Jabeur
On mission: the Tunisian Ons Jabeur SEBASTIEN BOZONAFP

But after knocking out seventh seed Danielle Collins in the first round, she made it through the draw.

“I don’t know how I got here,” admitted Bouzkova.

Tuesday’s other quarter-final is an all-German encounter between Tatjana Maria and Jule Niemeier who have a combined world ranking of 200.

Mother-of-two Maria only returned from a second maternity leave less than a year ago and is in the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time since her tour debut in 2007 .

Prior to Wimbledon, Niemeier had played just one Grand Slam main draw match, a first-round defeat at Roland Garros earlier this year.

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