World number two and home favourite Ons Jabeur exited from the WTA250 event in Monastir, Tunisia on Friday after going down in three sets to American Claire Liu.
World No. 73 Liu beat top-seeded Jabeur 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours 27 minutes to clinch the biggest win of her career.
Jabeur became the first-ever Tunisian, Arab and African women to reach the Wimbledon and US Open finals this year.
Playing in front of home crowd, Jabeur had beaten American Ann Li and Russian Evgeniya Rodina in straight sets to reach the last eight stage.
However, in what was the pair’s first career meeting, Liu broke Jabeur in the second game of the opening set before holding her own to take a 6-3 lead.
The American started the second set in similar fashion and broke Jabeur straight away. However, in a long deuce game on Liu’s serve, Jabeur converted her fifth break point to make it 1-1. The Tunisian had the chance to serve for a topsy-turvy second set at 5-3 but failed to convert any of the two set points. Nevertheless, Jabeur went up 40-0 on Liu’s serve in the next game and closed the set by converting her third break point.
In the deciding third set, things stayed on serve till 3-3 before the two players exchanged a couple of breaks. The American though got the crucial break in the following game and successfully served for the match.
Liu will next face either fifth-seeded Belgian Elise Mertens or Japanese qualifier Moyuka Uchijima.