Tatjana Maria and Jule Niemeier are unstoppable at the grass court classic in Wimbledon. For the first time in their careers, they are in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam and now meet each other. There is no trace of rivalry beforehand.
Jule Niemeier and Tatjana Maria gossiped happily with each other. The two German surprises were exuberant about their next Wimbledon coup and were already eagerly anticipating their direct duel. “Unbelievable, I am very happy that we both won,” enthused Niemeier. With inspiring performances, they continued their sensational runs at the grass-court classic on Sunday and will now meet in the quarter-finals of the Generations.
No trace of rivalry – joy over safe German semi-finalist
There was no trace of rivalry on Sunday evening despite the impending clash. “We both would have signed that when we flew here,” Niemeier said on Sky. “I am extremely happy to know that there is definitely a German player in the semi-finals.” It was “super for Germany that we are playing two against each other, nobody would have thought that at the beginning,” Maria also said full of joy.
The mother of two, who is 34 years old, defeated twelfth seed Jelena Ostapenko 5:7, 7:5, 7:5 on Sunday with a great display of energy. Less than 30 minutes later, 22-year-old Niemeier celebrated her commanding 6:2, 6:4 win over British local hero Heather Watson on Centre Court in front of legends like Björn Borg. Maria and Niemeier will receive the equivalent of 360,000 euros each for their victories in the last 16 and will be in the top eight for the first time ever at a Grand Slam.
Niemeier: “I am sorry that I had to throw out a British player today”.
In her career so far, Niemeier had not earned so much overall. “I’m sorry I had to throw a British girl out today,” said the Dortmund native apologetically with a Wimbledon towel over her shoulders. “I’m super proud of myself.” She didn’t really know Niemeier yet, Maria reported. True, they both played together at the Bredeney Tennis Club in Essen this year in the national league. “But I never really saw them play,” Maria said.
In the second set against Ostapenko, she fended off two match points from her opponent and clinched the biggest success of her career after 2:07 hours. Just 15 months after giving birth to her second daughter Cecilia, she is in her 35th attempt at a Grand Slam tournament, the best she has ever done. “It makes me so proud to be a mother. It’s the best thing in the world,” she said in her acceptance speech. “I love my two children.”
The success also gives Maria and Niemeier entry into Wimbledon’s elite “Last 8 Club”. In it are all singles quarter-finalists and receive, among other things, lifetime tickets to the world’s most prestigious tournament. “Wow wow wow,” cheered German women’s boss Barbara Rittner on the German quarter-final and attested Maria “another tactical and fighting masterstroke”.
Victory in front of a prestigious crowd
Before Niemeier’s match, numerous former champions such as Roger Federer, Stefan Edberg, Chris Evert and also Angelique Kerber were on the grass at the 100th anniversary celebration of Centre Court. “I didn’t want to watch the show because I was pretty nervous,” she confessed. Niemeier is now only three wins short of an absolute sensation.
After an even opening phase, the Dortmund player won one of the most spectacular points of the entire tournament. After a successful backhand from running back after a lob, the woman from Dortmund threw both arms up, the point to 2:2 thrilled even former stars like Billie Jean King in the VIP stand.
With her strong serve, quick forehand and variable game, the world number 97 dominated the action. She won the first set with a fine forehand stop after only 27 minutes. The second set was closer, but Niemeier kept her cool and took the third match point.
Difficult match against “tough” Ostapenko
Maria had much more trouble. The former French Open winner Ostapenko could not cope with the German’s unorthodox style of play at the beginning. Maria stayed in the points for a long time with a high running intensity and played the balls with an unpleasant undercut. Slowly, however, the 25-year-old Ostapenko gained confidence and also the first set.
“I know that she is a tough opponent, she plays the balls very, very fast,” Maria had analysed her opponent before the match. At 4:5 in the second set, she fought off her opponent’s two match points with nerves of steel. Ostapenko, who often has problems with consistency, got out of her stride. Maria celebrated the break to 6:5 with a loud scream, her husband and coach Charles-Edouard cheered in the stands with both fists – a little later she made it perfect to win the second set at nil.
The decisive set became a test of nerves. Again Ostapenko started better, but fluctuated between the extremes. Again Maria came back. At 5:4 and one break ahead, she served for the match, Ostapenko equalised and tapped her forehead. Maria broke again – and was finally able to celebrate.