Beatriz Haddad Maia scored another comeback win at the French Open, upsetting Ons Jabeur 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 on Wednesday to become the first Brazilian woman since 1968 to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.
The 14th-seeded Haddad Maia, who in 2019 was provisionally suspended for failing a doping test, shook off a slow start against the seventh-seeded Jabeur on Court Philippe Chatrier and will next face either Iga Swiatek or Coco Gauff.
After playing nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, Haddad Maia won only one of her service games in the first set. But she saved the only two break points she faced in the second set — both in the 11th game to go up 6-5 — and won the tiebreaker.
The 27-year-old Brazilian started the deciding set with a double break and a 3-0 lead. A frustrated Jabeur flipped her racket in the air after sending an easy backhand wide on a break-point opportunity while down 4-1. Haddad Maia won the game and served out the match, putting her hand on her cap almost in disbelief after Jabeur sailed a forehand long on the second match point.
“I had to be patient. She’s one of the best players in the world,” Haddad Maia said on court. “Not easy to play against her. She’s tricky sometimes.”
Jabeur, a Tunisian who was the runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, used drop shots effectively early in the match but in the end had more unforced errors (42) than winners (38).
“I always believed that the match (would be) long,” Haddad Maia said. “That was the key. I was trying to keep my game.”
Haddad Maia is the first Brazilian woman to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros in the Open era. Maria Bueno reached the last four at the 1966 French Open and made the 1968 US Open semifinals.
Haddad Maia’s fourth-round win over Sorribes Tormo, 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-5, was the longest WTA match of the year — clocking in a 3 hours, 51 minutes.
After failing her doping test in 2019, the Brazilian player had argued that she had merely been taking supplements. The International Tennis Federation accepted Haddad Maia’s explanation and said she “bore no significant fault or negligence for her violation,” but that a suspension was nonetheless mandatory.
The top-seeded Swiatek and sixth-seeded Gauff were up next on Chatrier — a rematch of last year’s French Open final won by Swiatek in straight sets. The 22-year-old Swiatek has been ranked No. 1 for more than a year.
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