A blockbuster semifinal matchup at the US Open in Flushing Meadows sees fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur come up against seventeenth-seeded Caroline Garcia in the first of Thursday night’s matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Jabeur will be playing to reach her second Grand Slam final–her second in a row, having succumbed to Elena Rybakina in three sets in the Wimbledon final a few months ago. Meanwhile, Caroline Garcia will be playing in her first Major semifinal, the biggest match of her singles career. Caroline Garcia is the form player on Tour and will head into this match as the slight favourite. However, Ons Jabeur is also in some fine form and will take some stopping. Let’s look at some of the keys to the match.
US Open Semifinal: Ons Jabeur vs Caroline Garcia
Caroline Garcia: on fire
Caroline Garcia has won 13 consecutive matches. Garcia arrived in New York on the back of becoming the first qualifier to win the 1000 level event in Cincinnati. Garcia has shown no signs of letting up in New York as she has powered her way trough the draw without dropping a set. Garcia has rarely even come close to losing a set, dominating her opponents with her tremendous ball striking. Convincing wins over quality opponents such as Coco Gauff and Bianca Andreescu were especially noteworthy.
Power vs versatility
This is an exciting matchup as both players possess dynamic playing styles. Both have great hands. Garcia is efficient at the net, while Jabeur possess the best drop shout on tour. Garcia probably has the edge when it comes to firepower and aggression. However, Jabeur has some heavy weaponry of her own, especially off the forehand side. The key difference is how early Garcia takes the ball, particularly on the return where she often employs an ultra-aggressive stance well within the baseline. Can Jabeur handle the heat?
Ons Jabeur has been steadily building and establishing herself at the top of the women’s game for a couple of years now. Perhaps this is the moment the Tunisian breaks through to claim her maiden major title? The 28-year-old came agonizingly close at Wimbledon a few months ago where she headed into the championship match with Elena Rybakina as the favorite. It was undoubtedly a painful loss for Jabeur after claiming the opening set. Perhaps that heartbreak will drive her through the next few matches in New York?
This is a huge match for both players; Grand Slam semifinals don’t come around very often. It’s the first for Garcia, the second for the Jabeur. There’s no doubting the talent of either lady. Both possess classy, powerful games. However, it should be noted that both have shown mental fragility throughout their careers, especially in big matches. For example, Jabeur has a negative 3-6 record in finals. While Garcia has struggled to consistently put her game together on the the biggest stages. Whoever handles their nerves better will give themselves a good opportunity to advance to the final.
It’s going to be a fun match between these two, that’s for sure. It will be fascinating to see who steps up and makes the most of this opportunity on the biggest stage in tennis. I suspect Garcia’s firepower will be a little too much for Jabeur to handle, assuming the Frenchwoman can hold her nerve. However, it’s tough to bet against Jabeur right now; she is a tough nut to crack.
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