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Ons Jabeur advances to second straight Charleston Open final

TENNIS: JAN 12 Sydney Classic

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 12: Ons Jabeur of Tunisia celebrates her win during the Sydney Classic Tennis match between Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and Ons Jabeur of Tunisia at Ken Rosewall Arena on January 12, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Steven Markham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Second-seeded Ons Jabeur advanced to the Charleston Open final for the second straight year, beating No. 3 seed Daria Kasatkina 7-5, 7-5 in a rain-delayed match.

Jabeur, who lost this championship a year ago to Belinda Bencic, will have to wait until Sunday to find out her opponent. The second semifinal match between No. 1 seed Jessica Pegula and the fourth-seeded Bencic was suspended because of rain. Bencic was ahead a set, yet trailing Pegula 4-2 in a second-set tiebreaker.

The two will conclude their match, weather permitting, and after suitable rest, the final will be played.

Jabeur fought off Kasatkina to win her 10th semifinal in her 12 visits to the final four. Jabeur of Tunisia also won her fifth straight over her Russian opponent and first since the two played in the Rome semifinals a season ago.

Jabeur had quipped Friday she’d try and get her supporters in Tunisia to send sunshine to the Credit One Tennis Center. Instead, it was an overcast, chilly with rain delays that had the match ending more than 5 1-2 hours after it began.

Jabeur trailed 5-3 in the opening set when the rain delayed the match. She returned after the delay of more than three hours to win the next four games to take the set.

Jabeur turned it up again at the end of the final set, surging from a 5-all tie to put away Kasatkina and reach her first final of the year.

Jabeur said she just started over after the delay with a fresh mindset. “I’m glad I didn’t lose that set, even thought I started really bad after the rain,” she said. “But pretty happy that I was fighting and was all about fighting, I think, for this match for sure.”

Kasatkina said it was difficult with the uncertainty of the weather and waiting to resume. “I just wish all tennis was played indoors like most of the other sports,” she said.