Beatriz Haddad Maia shows her tenacity to claim historic French Open last eight victory

Beatriz Haddad Maia

Beatriz Haddad Maia came from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur and become the first Brazilian woman to reach the French Open semi-finals in the open era.

After battling for nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, the 14th seed again found herself with work to do after losing the opening set to seventh seed Jabeur.

A very tight second went to a tie-break, which Haddad Maia took, and the Brazilian ran away with the decider to win 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-1.

Haddad Maia, 27, looked utterly stunned at the moment of victory, having never previously gone beyond the fourth round at a slam.

Her results away from the majors have been very impressive, though, and she will hope to follow in the footsteps of Brazilian grand slam champions Gustavo Kuerten and Maria Bueno.

“I was prepared for the game,” Haddad Maia said after her win.

“I knew that it would be very hard. It’s not easy to be a set down against Jabeur, and she was playing well. So when the match was done, I just looked to my team and said, ‘We made it.’

“I think it was one of the biggest and special wins for me, also because Jabeur is a player that I respect a lot. It’s very tough to come and go for it because one thing is to win a set, one thing is to have 5-3 and serve, and one thing is to go and win the match. I was very proud, and I think my face showed that, I think, hard-working, it works sometimes.”

Maria Bueno, a seven-time major champion, was the only other Brazilian woman to advance to the last four of a Grand Slam during the Open Era at the 1968 US Open.

Prior to the Open Era, Bueno, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 78, advanced to the French Open semifinals five times, including a trip to the 1964 final.

Gustavo Kuerten, who made his final of three championship runs here at Roland Garros in 2001, was the last Brazilian to get to a major semifinal.

Patience has been the virtue for the Brazilian on the Parisian clay.

“As I said yesterday, I think a tennis match is like a marathon, it’s not a 100 meters race,” Haddad Maia said.

“I think one of my qualities is that I wait and I’m very patient and I never give up, so I wait for the moment because I know that my level is high. So even if I’m not playing well or even if I’m missing a few shots one moment, the tennis will appear, and I’ll have my opportunity to go for it.”

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