Tatjana Maria advances to first Grand Slam semi-final at 34, will face Ons Jabeur
LONDON — This year’s first Wimbledon semi-finalist is the oldest woman remaining in the draw.
Tatjana Maria, a 34-year-old German who returned to the tour less than a year ago after giving birth to her second daughter, made it to the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time on his 35th appearance. She beat another 22-year-old German, Jule Niemeier, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 on Tuesday on Court No. 1.
“A year ago I just gave birth,” Maria said on the court. “It’s crazy.”
Maria is making her 10th appearance for the All England Club and has become just the sixth woman in the Open era to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals after turning 34. Her previous best performance was reaching the third round in 2015. She never even got that far. three other major tennis tournaments.
It hasn’t been easy this year.
Maria is ranked 103rd in the world and was outside the top 250 as recently as March. Since returning from maternity leave, she has lost in the first round at the US Open, Australian Open and French Open.
That has changed on the grass courts at Wimbledon.
Maria has beaten three seeds in a row in her race to the quarter-finals, including fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari in the third round and twelfth-seeded 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round .
She will next face third-seeded Ons Jabeur, who beat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time. Jabeur became the first Arab player, female or male, to qualify for a Grand Slam semi-final in the Open Era, which began in 1968.
“I had hoped to be able to get to this stage for a long time already. I struggled a few times in the quarter-finals. I’m happy to be able to — because I spoke a little to [former Moroccan tennis player who reached four major quarterfinals] Hicham Arazi, and he said to me: “The Arabs always lose in the quarter-finals and we are fed up. Please break this. I was, like, I’ll try, my friend, don’t put this in my hand,” Jabeur said.
“We were just texting, and he was really happy. He was, like, thank you for finally making the semi-final. Now you can really go for the title.”
ESPN’s D’Arcy Maine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.