Jule Niemeier kept touching her heart, Tatjana Maria had tears in her eyes when she thought about her family – Angelique Kerber, on the other hand, experienced great frustration. In contrast to the two tournament surprises, the 2018 winner failed at the grass classic in Wimbledon and missed the round of 16 with the 4: 6, 5: 7 against the Belgian Elise Mertens. “I’m happy for both of them,” said Kerber about Niemeier and Maria. “I’m really excited to see how the journey continues for them both here this year.”
Niemeier and Maria continued their fabulous series of successes and are each among the top 16 for the first time in a Grand Slam tennis tournament. The 22-year-old Niemeier defeated the Ukrainian Lessia Zurenko 6: 4, 3: 6, 6 in a nerve thriller on Friday :3 and confirmed her previous success against world number three Anett Kontaveit from Estonia.
Maria throws out number five
“It just took a load off my heart, that had nothing to do with the match two days ago today,” said Niemeier about her jubilant gesture. “I’m just really happy that I ended up winning the match, even if I didn’t play my best tennis.”
Maria, twelve years her senior, created a big surprise and won 6:3, 7:5 against world number five Maria Sakkari from Greece. In her previous nine Wimbledon attempts, she had never gotten past the third round.
“It’s hard to find words. I’m here for the first time with my two children,” said Maria on the pitch, completely overwhelmed. Almost 15 months after the birth of her second daughter Cecilia, she achieved the greatest Grand Slam success of her long career. “It’s such a special place for me. Here I played pregnant. To be able to do this now with my family, there are no words for it. I’m just happy.” In the second set, Maria caught up 2:5 against Sakkari, who was five seeded, and used her second match point after 90 minutes. Now she meets the Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.
For Kerber, however, the tournament is over earlier than expected. Frustrated, she trudged over Court 1’s shoulders with a Wimbledon towel. After two easy wins, the 34-year-old lacked consistency, and in the second round she was unable to use a break advantage twice. “Unfortunately, this is sport, it’s so close together in the end,” said the woman from Kiel, who now wants to start the hard court season after a break. “Of course you’re a bit disappointed.” Last year, Kerber reached the semi-finals.
Niemeier wants more
Niemeier is not that far yet. The tennis hope proved once again that she is also up to challenging tasks. After 2:04 hours, Niemeier converted the first match point through a backhand mistake by her opponent. In a break festival, both players stole the serve 21 times.
“I think a lot of people expected me to win that relatively easily today,” she said. “We have adjusted to it. If you beat a top ten player two days ago, you want to win the next match to prove it to yourself. That also played a role.”
For the biggest success of her career, she collects the equivalent of 219,000 euros. “It was an emotional rollercoaster ride,” said coach Christopher Kas. “We’re on a certain cloud, and we’ll just keep riding it and then we’ll see how far it takes us.” On her Wimbledon debut, Niemeier now meets Brit Heather Watson, who defeated Tamara Korpatsch in the first round. “She’s a great player, an experienced player,” Niemeier said of her 30-year-old next opponent.
Instead of playing on Court 1 in the second largest stadium, as against Kontaveit, Niemeier played on the 18th outdoor court, and the world number 97 had windy conditions. their problems again and again. The match was a constant up and down.
In her two sovereign two-set victories in the tournament, Niemeier had not yet conceded a break – and gave up the first of ten of her service games against Zurenko right at the beginning, and that straight to zero. At the start of the third set there were five breaks in a row, and Niemeier went to the bench with a disbelieving smile at 3:2. With a volley, the Dortmund woman got the first serve of the round and held her index finger to her temple. With brains, Niemeier brought the match home.