Ons Jabeur became the first-ever Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam third round in singles as she claimed a maiden top-10 victory with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova on Wednesday.
The Tunisian 2011 Roland Garros junior champion wrapped up the win in 85 minutes, playing some lights-out tennis and benefiting from an error-prone Cibulkova.
Jabeur, who had only ever played just one top-10 player prior to this match, hit 30 winners against just 17 unforced errors, compared to 13-18 from her opponent.
She is now on the brink of breaking the top-100 for the first time, which would make her just the second-ever Arab woman to hit that milestone, and the first since Selima Sfar in 2002.
Jabeur is the first lucky loser to reach the French Open third round since Gloria Pizzichini in 1996.
Jabeur’s signature drop shots were on display early on but it is her strength in her own service games that helped her in the opening set. A net cord helped Jabeur claim a crucial point in game nine, as she won a battle at the net against the Slovak. She then got a break point thanks to a brilliant return and found the forehand cross-court winner to break for 5-4.
Serving for the set, she started with an ace, and despite pressure from Cibulkova, the Tunisian took a 6-4 lead in 38 minutes. The 22-year-old faced zero break points in that set.
Cibulkova went off-court for a toilet break and had to fight off multiple break points upon return to hold for 2-1. The No6 seed got her hands on her first break opportunities of the match the following game and went up 3-1 with some aggressive hitting from the baseline.
Jabeur struck back immediately though and held for 3-3.
Another merciless drop shot help Jabeur create two break points and she capitalised on her first chance, breaking for 4-3 with a killer dropper.
Cibulkova saved a break point with a lethal backhand in the 10th game. But Jabeur responded with her own monster backhand to get a second match point. That too went away but she got a third chance on a long ball from Cibulkova.
And she was third time lucky as Cibulkova double-faulted to hand Jabeur her first-ever top-10 victory.