Wimbledon: Maria ends Niemeier's dream run

Ben Spratt
Stats Perform
Veteran Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria
Veteran Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria

Tatjana Maria's late-career Wimbledon charge continued into the semi-finals after she rallied past Jule Niemeier in the last eight on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old's best grand slam run before last week had taken her only as far as round three at the All England Club in 2015, but she is now one win away from a Centre Court final after edging Niemeier in an entertaining 4-6 6-2 7-5 triumph.

Niemeier, at the opposite end of her career at 22, was making her main-draw Wimbledon debut and had looked on course to ride her momentum into the last four.

In only the third all-German grand slam quarter-final of the Open Era, Maria's nerves showed in the first set as she immediately dropped serve and was unable to recover.

But after quickly being broken again at the start of the second, the veteran seized control, battling back as Niemeier appeared to lose her composure.

The decider could have gone either way, with one crucial point going in Maria's favour as Niemeier dived headfirst after a drop shot at the end of a 13-stroke rally, yet experience told at the last.

Data slam: Mother Maria in fine company

Maria gave birth to her second daughter just 15 months ago, but she has returned better than ever and joined esteemed company with a semi-final appearance at 34.

She is just the sixth female player in the Open Era to make the last four at Wimbledon after her 34th birthday, alongside Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Meanwhile, Mirjana Lucic (2017 Australian Open) is the only other European player to achieve that feat at any of the majors.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Maria – 26/37
Niemeier – 39/54

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Maria – 4/7
Niemeier – 3/11

BREAK POINTS WON
Maria – 5/7
Niemeier – 3/9

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