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Tennis-Haddad Maia’s patience rewarded with French Open semi-final spot


By Karolos Grohmann

PARIS (Reuters) – Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia was left stunned following her French Open quarter-final victory over seventh seed Ons Jabeur on Wednesday, crediting her patience for landing the biggest win of her career.

The 27-year-old battled from a set down to win a second set tiebreak before running away with the third for a 3-6 7-6(5) 6-1 victory and a first ever spot in the last four where she will face top seed Iga Swiatek.

“I think a tennis match is like a marathon. It’s not a 100 metre race,” the world number 14 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.”

She looked to be on her way out after the first set but refused to be broken in the entire second set to battle back and become the first Brazilian woman since Maria Bueno in 1968 to reach a Slam semi-final.

She is also the first female player from her country to book a last-four spot at Roland Garros in the Open Era.

“I did not think to do that. I came to Roland Garros, my first goal was to be in the third round. I never won before a second round in a Grand Slam. I know that the goal had to be real,” she said.

Following her winning match point, Haddad Maia put her hands on her head and looked around in disbelief.

“When the match was done, I just looked to my team and said, We made it. Like, we did,” she said.

“I remember when I won the third round, I said, Okay, now I reach another goal.”

Patience is not a new-found attribute for the Brazilian whose career had been put on hold several times by injuries.

“Well, I think four surgeries are not easy to come back. I had tough moments in my career,” she said.

“So for the body I had to stop six or seven times in my career for months and starting again. Also, I was one year out from the tour. I had to fight a lot to be here.”

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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