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By Erik Gudris| @ATNTennis | Sunday, July 3, 2022

Tatjana Maria

Germany's Jule Niemeier and Tatjana Maria face each other for a spot in Wimbledon's final four.

Photo Source: Getty

This year's Wimbledon fortnight continues to shine the spotlight on the underdogs. Two more players enjoying major breakthroughs will now face each other for a place in their first-ever Grand Slam semifinal.

Tennis Express

Germany's Jule Niemeier and Tatjana Maria continued their impressive and surprising runs at the tournament by earning impressive wins in their respective third rounds.

The 32-year-old Maria, who took time away from the sport to raise two young children, found herself up against dark horse favorite and No. 12 seed Jelena Ostapenko. For a while it looked like the former Roland Garros champion Ostapenko just might find her way into the elite eight.

Ostapenko, after taking the first set 7-5, jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set. Yet, the current World No. 103 Maria battled herself back into contention.

Maria, down 4-5 in the second set, saved two match points en route to taking the game and then later the set 7-5.

The third set proved to be a nail-biter for both fans and players alike on No. 1 Court. Maria fought her way through the set to eventually serve for it up 5-4. Ostapenko responded by breaking Maria at love for 5-all. Yet, Maria upped the ante when she framed a service return that just landed over the net and onto the line out of Ostapenko's reach. That break allowed Maria to serve for it again up 6-5.

Maria didn't waste her second chance as she closed out the surprise 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 victory to reach her first-ever major quarterfinal.

Maria thanked the Court No. 1 crowd for all of their support. "They believe in me so I believe in myself!"

While she celebrated her career milestone, Maria put the perspective on what matters most to her.

Facing Maria next will be fellow German World No. 97 Jule Niemeier who is enjoying her own major breakthrough this fortnight.

Niemeier, who knocked off No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit earlier in the event, took on UK's own Heather Watson in their fourth round meeting on Centre Court.

Niemeier showed off her impressive serve and forehand power throughout the match. Niemeier broke Watson twice in the opening set before wrapping up the set 6-2.

With this stirring rally, both players delighted the crowd midway through the second set.

Niemeier eventually closed Watson 6-2, 6-4 to set up the improbable quarterfinal meeting with Maria.

Maria reflected later about facing Niemeier in their biggest ever career match and what it means for German tennis.

"I guess it's nice for German tennis that we are playing in the quarterfinals against each other because one of us will be in the semifinal. So one player from Germany will be in the semifinal. I don't know Jule really well. It's funny actually because we played Bundesliga together in one team. I never really saw her playing, I mean, closely. For her it's also something amazing. To be in the quarterfinal in Wimbledon, it's the same like for me: it's amazing. I guess, yeah, we try to enjoy today, this day, and then we going to have a nice match hopefully in two days."


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