Swiatek beats Gauff to set up Haddad Maia semi-final

3 months ago 30
Beatriz Haddad Maia celebrates winning a point at the 2023 French OpenBeatriz Haddad Maia has fought back from behind to win in the third round, last 16 and now quarter-finals of the French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 28 May-11 June
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Brazilian 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia reached her first Grand Slam semi-final by fighting back to stun Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in the French Open last eight.

Haddad Maia, who had never previously reached the third round of a major, recovered to win 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.

The 27-year-old is the first Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Maria Bueno in 1968.

Haddad Maia will play Polish top seed Iga Swiatek or American sixth seed Coco Gauff in Thursday's semi-finals.

Haddad Maia has become known for her ability to come through long tests, including in the Roland Garros fourth round when she outlasted Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in an epic lasting almost four hours.

That was the longest women's match of the season and, while the encounter against Jabeur was nowhere near as long, she again demonstrated her physical and mental endurance.

Against an opponent backed by a large number of flag-waving Tunisian fans on Court Philippe Chatrier, Haddad Maia started slowly in her first major quarter-final.

The world number 14, who served a 10-month doping suspension which ended in 2020, was broken three times in the first set as Jabeur took control.

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur leaps to hit a return at the French OpenJabeur is still aiming for her first Grand Slam singles title, having lost in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year

Break opportunities were scarce in the second set until two chances not taken by Jabeur at 5-5 ultimately proved costly for the 28-year-old Tunisian.

Last year's Wimbledon and US Open runner-up missed the first break point with a forehand that went long, her opponent saving the other with a series of aggressive returns.

The Brazilian, having shown the importance of hanging in as Jabeur rattled through service games, eventually took her fourth set point to send the match into a decider.

Galvanised, the left-hander's heavy forehand returns caused more problems for Jabeur as she moved 3-0 ahead.

The pair exchanged breaks in the next two games before Haddad Maia, who could now hear the support of singing Brazilian fans, saved four breaks to hold for 5-1.

Jabeur, now becoming increasingly demoralised, spanked a forehand long on the second match point, leaving Haddad Maia looking flummoxed at what she had just achieved.

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