Tatjana Maria rallies to stun Jelena Ostapenko

Maria, who was ranked outside the top 250 in March, said the victory was especially sweet given her breaks from the game.
Tatjana Maria celebrates defeating Jelena Ostapenko
Tatjana Maria celebrates defeating Jelena Ostapenko

LONDON: Germany’s Tatjana Maria continued her dream Wimbledon run when she fought from a set down and saved two match points to beat former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 5-7 7-5 7-5 on Sunday and reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

It was the biggest career victory for the mother of two who returned to action from maternity leave just under a year ago and she will play Jule Niemeier in the last eight after the German beat Briton Heather Watson 6-2 6-4.

Maria, who was ranked outside the top 250 in March, said the victory was especially sweet given her breaks from the game.

Maria made a solid start as the 25-year-old Ostapenko, who reached the semi-finals at the grasscourt major a year after her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2017, surrendered her serve early to trail 1-3.

But the Latvian immediately regained her composure to level the scores before switching gears to go ahead 6-5 and take the first set after world number 103 Maria made unforced errors on crucial points. Maria hit back from 1-4 down in the next set before forcing a decider.

Having saved two match points in the second set at 4-5 and with the crowd firmly behind her, Maria capitalised on a mistake from 12th seed Ostapenko to go up 6-5 in a see-saw third set before sealing the match on serve.

Nadal crosses the mark by scolding Sonego

Italian Lorenzo Sonego spoke boldly about his chances of thwarting Rafael Nadal’s onslaught in a rare calendar-year Grand Slam, declaring that “grass is the best surface to find him”.

The 27th seed was left with the egg on his face and a public reprimand after taking a 6-1 6-2 6-4 hammer blow that thankfully lasted just two hours. But Saturday’s showdown will not be remembered for any of that.

A clearly annoyed Nadal called Sonego to the net and scolded him about tennis etiquette in front of 15,000 wide-eyed fans and a global audience of millions.

And what exactly bothered the generally calm and polite Spaniard?

A loud grunt made by Sonego mid-rally in the eighth game of the third set seemed to have pushed Nadal over the edge, especially as the Spaniard ended up losing his serve for the first and only time in the match. But once they left the court, Nadal was quick to admit his mistake.

“I have to say I was wrong. I shouldn’t have called him to the net. So, I apologize for that. My mistake… I recognize that,” said the 36-year-old.

RESULTS: Men: D Goffin bt F Tiafoe 7-6 (3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5; C Norrie bt T Paul 6-4, 7-5, 6-4; R Nadal bt L Sonego 6-1, 6-2, 6-4; N Kyrgios bt S Tsitsipas 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7). Women: T Maria bt J Ostapenko 5-7, 7-5, 7-5; M Bouzkova bt C Garcia 7-5, 6-2; J Niemeier bt H Watson 6-2, 6-4

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