Jabeur's Aussie Open run more than tennis

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur is the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam.
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur is the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam.

Growing up in a country undergoing revolution, trailblazing Australian Open surprise packet Ons Jabeur always dreamed big.

The world No.78 is inspiring Tunisia with her golden run at Melbourne Park, becoming the first Arab woman to reach a grand slam quarter-final.

Despite her homeland experiencing tough times, Jabeur continued playing and training in potentially dangerous places.

President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had ruled Tunisia since 1987, but was ousted in January 2011 after weeks of street demonstrations.

"A lot of things changed actually when I won the (French Open) juniors - after 2011. It was a little bit tough after the revolution. It was not really safe at the time," she said.

"I've been practising in Tunisia from the age of three through 16 or 17. I'm 100 per cent Tunisian product.

"I was really ambitious to win a grand slam (while growing up).

"I always hoped and dreamed about being able to lift one of the trophies.

"To be honest, I was dreaming about Roland Garros because it's really close to my country."

The 26-year-old, yet to win a WTA title but a finalist two years ago in Moscow, said she was thrilled about the reaction in Tunisia to her success.

"I'm receiving a lot of messages, especially people waking up at 5am in the morning to watch my match," Jabeur said.

"I'm really proud. Hopefully, they can still watch me and following more, just not in the grand slams, but the other tournaments."

Already guaranteed a career-high ranking inside the world's top 50, Jabeur will take on another first-time grand slam quarter-finalist in Sofia Kenin on Tuesday.

The American ended the Open campaign of teen sensation Coco Gauff.

The pair played twice last year, with Kenin, 21, taking both matches against Jabeur.

"It's going to be a good match-up," said Kenin.

"I've played her in Mallorca last year. I know her game pretty well."

Kenin, who won three WTA titles last year, was unable to contain her emotions on Sunday after defeating Gauff 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-0.

The winner will meet either world No.1 Ashleigh Barty or seventh-seeded 2019 runner-up Petra Kvitova in the semi-finals.

Australian Associated Press