Wimbledon continued to debut their new tournament schedule as we delved deeper into the second week of the 2022 Championships. Previously, Tuesday was women’s quarter-finals day. Now the women’s and men’s quarter-finals are split across the Tuesday and Wednesday. Today was my last full day of annual leave. It’s gone so quickly! Upsets and all that jazz but the bottom half of the women’s draw delivered yet again great day. Read on for day 9 highlights…
QF #1 🎾
Jule Niemeier and Tatjana Maria. World number 97 against 103. Not your average Wimbledon quarter-final. Both were competing in their first Slam quarter-final and were deep in uncharted territory. Niemeier had never won a main draw Slam match before this tournament. Maria’s best result in 34 Slam main draw appearances was a lone run to the third round at Wimbledon in 2015. You would have expected nerves to play a big role in this match given what a huge opportunity it was for both players to reach the last four. For sure, there were nerves, but the overwhelming takeaway… this was a fantastic match! Maria rallied from a set and a break down to beat Niemeier, 4-6 6-2 7-5 in two hours and 18 minutes.
It wasn’t your classic women’s match of hard hitting groundstrokes. The pair combined for 119 approaches to the net! There were so many layers of variety and memorable rallies. The point at 5-5 in the third set will surely go down as one of the most exciting of the tournament. And there was a nailbiting conclusion. This match had it all. So much fun!
First set. Niemeier came out with a clear gameplan. To be aggressive, charge the net and approach to Maria’s backhand (h/t to Tracy Austin in BBC commentary for spotting this in the first few games). The tactics were spot on. Second set. Maria began to settle, look more at ease and play much more aggressively. Niemeier wobbled on serve with five double faults and won just 29% of points behind the second serve. The uncertainty on serve crept into the rest of Niemeier’s game. Third set. Niemeier sorted out the serve with no double faults! Niemeier continued to commit to charging the net and serve-and-volley, but execution let her down. Maria looked the more assured of the pair at the end and her slice was increasingly decisive, with more bite, as she dragged Niemeier all over the court.
I really admired Niemeier’s approach to the match. I think her tactics were right, just wasn’t able to execute, particularly in those last few games. I’ve learned this week that Niemeier has so many facets to her game. It’s not just the serve and heavy groundstrokes. Niemeier has skills at the net, an excellent drop shot and impressive feel. 15 months after giving birth to her second child, Maria marches into semis. One of the tennis stories of the year. Heartwarming stuff! 🥰
QF #2 🎾
Historic Ons! Ons Jabeur advanced to her first Slam semi-final with a 3-6 6-1 6-1 victory as she managed to press the reset button to end Marie Bouzkova‘s glorious run. It was a shame there was such a muted crowd for this one, not helped by the Djokovic-Sinner five setter that preceded this match and Cam Norrie’s epic on No.1 Court. It was another super match with some terrific points.
The first set was a pretty accurate depiction of Bouzkova at Wimbledon this year. Tenacious, exceptional defence, serving well and attacking when the opportunity arose. Jabeur seemed a littled edgy with some questionable decision making. This match could so easily have got away from Jabeur. In the second and third sets, Jabeur managed to stamp her authority on the match and essentially nullify Bouzkova’s defence. Jabeur was more decisive in the rallies as she managed to open up the court and then finish the point off by either coming forward or hitting the drop shot. The drop shot was so much more effective in the second and third sets as she hit them from more advanced positions in the rallies compared to the first set.
A breakthrough tournament for Bouzkova and I really think that she’s going to keep pushing on. As much as I like Marie, I was rooting for Ons. I feel like this is her time now. Two tough matches in a row and she’s risen to the occasion to beat off two spirited opponents.
DAY 9 MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Best point 👏
The point mentioned above. Factor in the timing and this was amazinggg!
Both matches. The hugs were everything! 🤗
Snap of the day 📸
AGA AND JJ IN THE INVITATIONAL DOUBLES! Jankovic was my favourite when I started following the WTA so it was special to see her back ❤.
Recommended media 📺
Another great on-court interview with Tatjana Maria.