In any other circumstance, Ons Jabeur’s double-digit win streak and back-to-back WTA 1000 finals would be the clay-court performance dominating the headlines. Coming into the Internazionali BNL d’Italia after winning the biggest title of her career in Madrid and reaching the final in Charleston, there’s a short list of players who are hotter than the Tunisian at the moment.
That list begins and ends with world No. 1 Iga Swiatek—and that’s exactly who Jabeur will face in the championship match. Jabeur will be aiming to halt her opponent’s own win streak at 27 matches and prevent Swiatek from lifting a fifth consecutive trophy.
The world No. 7 joked earlier in the week that she feels a bit like Swiatek’s co-pilot, content to let her take center stage while Jabeur continues to notch career-best feats in the background. In Rome, the Tunisian claimed her first Top 5 win on clay after coming back from 6-1, 5-2 down to stun No. 4 Maria Sakkari, and then on Saturday she saved match point against a resurgent Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 to extend her win streak to a personal-best 11 in a row.
Can she make it 12 on Sunday? Now that she’s finally had a taste of WTA 1000-level success, Jabeur will no longer be content with playing second fiddle to anyone—even the world’s top-ranked player.
“Tomorrow the plane will crash and there is only one life jacket. I hope I take it,” Jabeur joked in her post-semifinal press conference. “I’m the co-pilot, though. There is no priority there.”