Tunisian woman becomes first African-American woman in top 10 of tennis’ WTA rankings

Osama Birtas / Reuters

Ons Jabeur became the first African woman to enter the top 10 of the WTA rankings on Monday. Inching up three places to eighth, she now has just under 90,000 points, 15,000 ahead of American Sloane Stephens.

The Tunisia-born 21-year-old has had a busy 2017, reaching four WTA finals so far, but notably coming out on top in Singapore earlier this month. Despite losing to Kerber in the final, Jabeur gained an impressive 20,000 points at the end of the tournament, in which she earned the most points at the WTA Finals for a first-round qualifier since Svetlana Kuznetsova’s victory in 1999.

Jabeur has struggled on many courts in the past, including during an international tournament she competed in in July 2016 at Flushing Meadows, New York. After a demoralizing 6-0, 6-0 defeat to Kazakh player Aryna Sabalenka, the No. 88 ranked African American player walked off the court and gave a “cowardly” interview to the media.

“There are a lot of mediocre players. They are not really ambitious,” Sabalenka said afterwards. “… Why can’t they be motivated to play in the top 10?”

The following month, Jabeur lost to the No. 18 ranked Sabalenka at the Luxembourg Open, although Sabalenka dropped out of the top 50 for the first time that week.

“That’s not the reason that I’m upset with the loss,” Jabeur said in the aftermath of the match. “I wasn’t motivated because I was performing as well as I’ve been performing.

“I just feel, you know, I’m not at a level where I was at last year, when I went very far.”

However, a good beginning to the 2017 season has had Jabeur back among the top five of the rankings, landing three more WTA finals. The final point from her win in Singapore helped the Tunisian to move one place further up the rankings — setting an impressive early goal of hitting the 100,000 point mark in the same year.

Read the full story at Huffington Post

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