Experience overcame youth in the Wimbledon quarter-finals when Tatjana Maria, 34, beat 22-year-old Jule Niemeier 4-6 6-2 7-5 in an entertaining battle of German underdogs on Tuesday. Maria, who only returned from maternity leave last summer after giving birth to her second daughter, is ranked 103rd in the world and Niemeier 97th.
“I have goosebumps all over the place,” Maria said in a court interview. “It was such a tough match against Jule… I think today we made Germany really proud.”
Both women started off nervously, spraying errors either side of Court 1, but Niemeier, playing at her first Wimbledon, took the early initiative, breaking up the opener and grabbing the set when Maria put a forehand wide.
Maria upped her game in the second set, producing revealing returns, heavy slices and deft drop shots. She won the set with a volley winner on Niemeier’s serve.
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In a match of fluctuating fortunes, the hard-hitting Niemeier couldn’t find his rhythm on his greatest weapon – the serve – producing 11 double faults. Among the unforced errors, the duo shared exchanges of high quality and commitment, including a memorable 13-shot battle at the end of the third set when Niemeier threw herself to the turf in a vain attempt to reach a drop shot. .
Neither woman had reached a Grand Slam quarter-final before, but Maria kept her composure in the final set, falling back after losing serve in game five, then winning the match when Niemeier, on serve, scored on a match point.
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Watched by beaming husband and coach Charles Maria, she praised the crowd for their support and said she couldn’t believe she had reached a Grand Slam semi-final.
“It’s a dream to go through this with my family, to go through this with my two daughters. Almost a year ago I gave birth, it’s crazy,” Maria said. She will face either her friend Ons Jabeur, the third Tunisian seed, or the Czech Marie Bouzkova, 66th, in the semi-finals.
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Post expires at 6:41pm on Friday July 15th, 2022