The 22-year-old Tunisian, ranked at 114, defeated sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova of
Jabeur, who had never won a match at the majors before her visit to
That mark was set by compatriot Selima Sfar, who made the second round at Roland Garros twice, three times at
Jabeur, who was the French Open girls’ champion in 2011, goes on to face Swiss 30th seed and 2015 semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky for a place in the last-16.
“I am very happy to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time,” added Jabeur, who proudly waved a Tunisian flag on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
“The fans here and all the Tunisians really helped me.”
Jabeur hailed the help she has received from Sfar, a trailblazer for Arab women’s tennis.
“She is such a great inspiration, she always comes to help me and support me,” said Jabeur, who fired 30 winners to 2009 semi-finalist Cibulkova’s 13, taking the match when her opponent double-faulted.
Jabeur only squeezed into the main draw when
Gloria Pizzichini was the last ‘lucky loser’ to reach the third round in
Jabeur’s win has already guaranteed her the biggest pay day of her career with €118 000 (about R1.73 million) guaranteed for third-round players.
“This is a second chance for me. Now I will do everything I can to continue on this path,” added the Paris-based Jabeur.
She also believes her victory is an important step forward for women’s tennis in the Arab world, and is prepared for the extra scrutiny. “
“It’s an honour to represent the Arab world and
However, she said her unexpected run means she will have to defer her Ramadan fasting obligations until her Roland Garros adventure ends.
“I cannot go without eating or drinking, but after the tournament I will give it back, day by day. I won’t be able to do the 30 days, but I have time to do it before the next Ramadan,” she explained after her first career win over a top-10 player.
Cibulkova arrived in
She played just three clay court matches before Roland Garros.