Wimbledon: Tatjana Maria offers herself a first Grand Slam quarter-final by beating Jelena Ostapenko (5-7, 7-5, 7-5)

Jabeur was not (too) scared

She is now the favorite of the ladies’ singles at Wimbledon. After the elimination of world number 1 Iga Swiatek by Alizé Cornet on Saturday, Ons Jabeur, runner-up to the Polish in the world rankings, logically became the player to beat. But the Tunisian did not flinch on Sunday against the Belgian Elise Mertens, seeded 24, winning in two sets (7-6, 6-4) and 1h46 of play on Court number 1. Like the year past, she therefore joins the quarter-finals where she will challenge the Czech Marie Bouzkova, who fell for Caroline Garcia earlier in the day.

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If the variations and the game so adapted to the turf of Jabeur ended up paying off, everything was not easy for her. Despite a break conquered from the 3rd game, the Tunisian saw Mertens come back on her heels (4-4) and push her to the tie-break. Worse, she even found herself trailing 6 points to 3 in this decisive game, but managed to reverse the trend to finally snatch it 11-9. In the second act, Jabeur’s salvation came from the net: she successfully completed 21 of her 27 climbs (78% success). Above all, she managed the break at the ideal moment, that is to say to conclude the game.

For Maria, age is just a number

It’s one hell of an adventure. Before this 2022 edition of Wimbledon, Tatjana Maria had never done better than a 3rd round (already on the lawn of the All England Club in 2015) in Major. And at 34, the German, 103rd player in the world and already falling for the seeded 5 Maria Sakkari in her previous match, will discover her first Grand Slam quarter-final. In the eighth, she won a knife match on Sunday on Court number 1 against Jelena Ostapenko (5-7, 7-5, 7-5) in 2h08 of play.

The emotion was all the stronger than Maria as she came very close to elimination during this round of 16. Led by a set and 5-4 in the second set, she dismissed two match points on her serve before stringing together three games to reset the counters to zero. She also lost her third-act entry serve, coming up behind in stride before making the difference in turn at 4-4. But back to the wall, Ostapenko went for the white break to come back to 5-5.

A surprising quarter and a clash of generations

Maria could then have thought that her luck had passed, far from it. She again delighted the opposing service and concluded in stride. In the quarter-finals, she will also have a good card to play to go further since she will face her compatriot Jule Niemeier, 97th in the world. The latter, who is only playing her second major Grand Slam draw at 22, clearly dominated the last Briton in contention Heather Watson (6-2, 6-4) on the Center Court in 1h16.

Despite the support of the entire public, Watson could not do anything against the opposing power. While leading 2-1 in the first set, she conceded five games in a row to see the first set slip away from her. If the Briton seemed able to reverse the situation by making the second set entry break (6-2, 0-2), Niemeier quickly extinguished the start of the Center Court fire. Incredulous after her victory, she even apologized to the British public. However, there was no reason: after having crushed Anett Kontaveit, world number 2, in the 2nd round, the young German more than deserved her place in the quarters.

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