Ons Jabeur reaches Wimbledon quarter-finals; Yelena Ostapenko upset with Tatyana Maria

third party Ons Jabeur saved five set points in Sunday’s first set tiebreak before batting Elise Mertens 7-6(9), 6-4 to reach their second straight Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Jabeur came back 6-3 in the tie-break, then broke 24th-seeded Mertens in the final game of the second set when her opponent made a double fault at first-ranked match point.

“It’s my way of expressing my stress a bit during the game, doing fun things with football or anything that helps me connect with the crowd,” Jabeur said of her ball skills as she chased down and walked away in a long one Lupfer von Mertens: “Being myself on the pitch is really, really important.”

She improved to 9-0 on grass this season, which includes winning the Berlin Open last month.

Just over a year ago, she became the first Arab woman to win a singles title on the Elite Women’s Tennis Tour when she lifted the trophy in Birmingham – also a grass court tournament.

“I love playing on grass, I love the connection between nature and me, so hopefully it stays that way for me and maybe until the final,” said Jabeur.

Jabeur shrugs off disappointment at a first-round defeat at the French Open and has “very high” goals at the All England Club.

“No matter who comes, I will build the fight, I will fight to the end because I really want the title,” said Jabeur.

Jabeur described her match, particularly the tiebreak, as “10 out of 10 stressful” but said she’s coping better now.

“I breathe better. I express my feelings more before games. It helps me really play the game I want to play,” she said.

Jabeur is confronted unseen Marie Bouzkovawith both players attempting to reach their first Grand Slam semifinals.

Tatyana MariaMeanwhile, she caused another upset at Wimbledon when she reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the age of 34 after beating 12th place Yelena Ostapenko 5-7, 7-5, 7-5.

She won’t be up against another highly placed opponent next, but Jule Niemeier22, making her All England Club debut, in an all-German showdown for a semi-final spot.

Heading into week two at Wimbledon, only two of the top-15 seedlings remain in the women’s draw, which has just one Grand Slam winner – Simona Halep — Left.

“I’ve always believed that one day I’ll be able to show what I can do,” said Maria in 103rd place, who edged out fourth-placed Maria Sakkari in the third round. “I’m glad I came back today when I was down, so I’m proud of myself.”

Halep is the last Grand Slam winner to stand on the women’s side. The 16th-seeded Romanian won at Wimbledon in 2019 and the French Open the year before. She is in fourth place Paula Badosa in the fourth round on Monday.

Niemeier, who was ranked 97th, advanced by hitting Heather Watson 6-2, 6-4 on Center Court in only her second Grand Slam tournament. The German had eliminated the runner-up Anett Kontaveit in the second round.

“I came here, I just wanted to win my first round after losing in Paris,” said Niemeier, who lost in the first round at Roland Garros and was left speechless. It just doesn’t feel real. Yeah, I’m just so happy.”

Bouzkova of the Czech Republic reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal by defeat Caroline Garcia by France 7-5, 6-2 as the traditional mid-Sunday rest day no longer exists at the All England Club.

“There’s no reason not to continue this. I kind of believe in myself right now,” said Bouzkova, who retired from the French Open after testing positive for COVID-19. “Yes, I’ll just give it my all again for the quarter-finals.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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