Beatriz Haddad Maia upsets Jabeur; becomes first Brazilian to reach French Open semis in Open Era
Haddad Maia defeated Ons Jabeur from a set down to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal at the French Open.
The No.14 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia on Wednesday became the first Brazilian woman to reach the French Open semifinals in the Open Era after upsetting No.7 seed Ons Jabeur 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 at Court Philippe-Chatrier. According to WTA.com, the only other Brazilian woman to reach the last four of a Grand Slam in the Open Era was seven-time major champion Maria Bueno at the 1968 US Open.
In the first set, Jabeur continued where she had left off in the previous round's battle with Bernarda Pera, in which she had broken her opponent eight times but dropped serve four times. Stunning the Court Philippe-Chatrier crowd with her full repertoire of drop shots, including the forehand scoop without warning and the backhand dink from what appeared to be a defensive position, the Tunisian proved unbeatable on return. The second set, in contrast to the first, featured strong serving. Jabeur had the first two break points of the set at 5-5, but Haddad Maia saved both of them. Haddad Maia's left-handed forehand dominated the second tiebreak, scoring her four separate winners, including one on her fourth set point. The following game saw Jabeur successfully save a set point of her own.
As the third set got underway, Haddad Maia continued to shine, breaking the Jabeur serve twice with thunderous returns. Jabeur recovered one of the breaks despite being down 3-0. In response, Haddad Maia put an end to the potential comeback over the course of eight doubles in the subsequent two games combined, establishing a 5-1 advantage. Jabeur made four more careless mistakes while serving to stay in the game and sent a forehand over the baseline, which allowed Haddad Maia to advance. "I was prepared for the game. I knew that it would be very hard. It's not easy to be a set down against Jabeur, and she was playing well. So when the match was done, I just looked to my team and said, 'We made it,'" WTA.com quoted Haddad Maia saying after her win.
"I think it was one of the biggest and special wins for me, also because Jabeur is a player that I respect a lot. It's very tough to come and go for it because one thing is to win a set, one thing is to have 5-3 and serve, and one thing is to go and win the match. I was very proud, and I think my face showed that I think, hard-working, it works sometimes," she added. "As I said yesterday, I think a tennis match is like a marathon, it's not a 100 meters race. I think one of my qualities is that I wait and I'm very patient and I never give up, so I wait for the moment because I know that my level is high. So even if I'm not playing well or even if I'm missing a few shots one moment, the tennis will appear, and I'll have my opportunity to go for it," Haddad Maia said. (ANI)
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