Ons Jabeur said she was happy to get through a tense clash with Marie Bouzkova at the US Open on Saturday after the fifth seed capitalised on her ailing opponent's limited movement to seal a comeback victory.
Having claimed the opening set, Czech 31st seed Bouzkova took an off-court medical timeout midway through the second due to an apparent leg issue, then soldiered on, but Jabeur began to make her opponent run around more with regular drop shots.
Ons Jabeur once again finds a way! pic.twitter.com/6N29a6758E— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 3, 2023
"I was trying to make her move as much as possible. I know that's not cool, but I wanted to win," said Jabeur, who overcame her own early struggles due to flu and prevailed 5-7 7-6(5) 6-3 after nearly three hours.
The Tunisian told a press conference she was not initially sure how serious Bouzkova's injury was.
"I was trying to observe her a lot, try to see where she was hurt," Jabeur said.
"I felt like doing dropshots on her forehand. I did on both, but felt like the forehand side was the side that bothered her a lot. I was tense at times. I couldn't do my shots.
"I really focussed on her (more) than on myself. I feel I even forgot that I wasn't feeling that well. I'm glad I got through this. It's never easy playing someone injured. It really gets into your head."
Jabeur, seeking her first Grand Slam title, said she will need to work on her serve ahead of a fourth-round meeting with China's Zheng Qinwen.
"I think that's going to be very important playing a talented young player," Jabeur said. "We'll try to have fun on the court. That's really important for me."