Doha, Qatar: Ons Jabeur's adventure at Qatar Total Open ended in the quarterfinals at the hands of former champion Petra Kvitova, but the Tunisian wild card, a crowd favourite in Doha, did no harm to her growing reputation with another battling display.
Jabeur, who defeated Karolina Pliskova in the last 16, managed to put Kvitova under a lot of pressure throughout the match and had she not made some unforced errors when he had her opponent on the mat, she could have played in her first WTA Tour semifinal.
The 25-year-old matched Kvitova shot for shot, drawing wild cheers from the crowd, but the two-time Wimbledon champion, however, had plenty of experience and kept her nerve to eke out a 7-6
(7-3), 7-6 (7-4) victory in 104 minutes.
Jabeur had a slow start to the match, allowing Kvitova to take 4-1 lead. But she found her range to break Kvitova twice and took the next four games before the former world No.2 hit back to take a 6-5 lead.
Though Jabeur managed to take the set to a tie-break, she made crucial errors to hand it to Kvitova.
The world No 44 had an early break in the second set while Kvitova broke back in the sixth to make it 3-3.
With the next six games going with the serve, the set went into a tie-breaker where the 2018 champion in Doha took control.
Jabeur still managed to produce a couple of top shots, with a net-play drawing the applause of even her opponent.
Kvitova, however, had the last laugh as a backhand down the line pass at match point saw Jabeur losing her racquet and the match.
If it was any consolation, she had already won the crowd big time by then.
Kvitova will take on Ashleigh Barty after the world no.1 defeated Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in the last quarterfinal match.
After cruising through the first round Barty lost focus as Muguruza snatched the second set in tie-break.
But the Australian had too many aces up her sleeve and had it easy in the third set.
In doubles, Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko and Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski beat second-seeds Timea Babos of Hungarian and Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 to enter final.
They will take on Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic who defeated Czech duo Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 4-6, 12-10.