Ons Jabeur, the second-ranked player in the world, became the first Arab woman to advance to a Grand Slam semifinal on Tuesday, setting up a match with Tatjana Maria, her “barbecue friend,” at Wimbledon.
The Tunisian trailed her Czech opponent Marie Bouzkova by a set, but she came back to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 on Centre Court by dropping only two more games.
Maria, a mother of two, had earlier overcome adversity to defeat Jule Niemeier, a fellow German, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 after dropping the first set and falling by a break in the second and third sets.
The only player still competing in the event at the All England Club who has a top 15 seed is Jabeur.
After a poor first set, the 27-year-old claimed she was relieved to have “woken up.”
She remarked, “I am delighted, particularly since I love this court, and it occurred on it. I’m hoping that my trip will go on.
She acknowledged that it would be challenging to confront Maria, 34, whom she referred to as her “barbecue companion.”
She added, “Maria is a terrific friend, so playing her will be challenging. I’m happy she’s in the semifinals because, as you can see, after giving birth to two children, she suddenly finds herself there. It is a remarkable tale.”
The 66th-ranked Bouzkova broke the Tunisian twice in the opening set, ending her unbeaten run until the quarterfinals.
The remainder of the match was a different scenario as she had twice as many victories as her opponent and broke her serve six times.
Maria, a German woman, rated 103rd, returned from maternity leave less than a year ago after the birth of her second baby.
In Tuesday’s match, Niemeier decided the opening set by an early break, making it just the third all-German Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Open era.
At the start of the second set, the 22-year-old broke once more to seize control of the match, but Maria roared back, breaking three times to tie it.
97th in the world. In the decisive set, Niemeier struck first again, breaking in the fifth game and holding serve to lead 4-2.
However, Maria returned to tie the match at 4-4 and then broke again in the 12th game to win in two hours and 18 minutes.
The German veteran, who defeated the 12th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko in the previous round despite facing two match chances, made her Grand Slam debut in 2007 and had never advanced beyond the third round of a major tournament until this year’s Wimbledon.
Despite her lackluster performance in the Slams, she said she always believed in her ability to do something extraordinary.
She stated, “To be in this position right now — I mean, as I said, I gave birth to my second kid a year ago — if someone would tell me a year later “you are in a semi-final of Wimbledon,” that’s ridiculous.”
Before her quarterfinal on Tuesday, Maria carried on, as usual, taking her eight-year-old daughter to tennis practice and announcing that following her triumph, she would be changing diapers for her 15-month-old baby.
I try to keep this continuing, keep things the same outside of the court because, she said, “I mean, nothing changes for me for a minute.” “We continue even if I play semis,”
For a spot in the semi-finals on Wednesday, Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina will compete against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic. At the same time, Simona Halep, a previous champion from Romania, will play American Amanda Anisimova.