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Tennis-Jabeur’s Grand Slam dream in tatters after loss to Brazil’s Haddad Maia


By Karolos Grohmann

PARIS (Reuters) – Seventh seed Ons Jabeur’s hopes of becoming the first African woman to win a singles Grand Slam lay in ruins on Wednesday after her 3-6 7-6(5) 6-1 defeat by Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the French Open quarter-finals.

Jabeur was bidding to reach her third Grand Slam semi-final in less than a year but her plans were scuppered by the 14th-seeded left-hander who battled back bravely to book her own maiden last four Slam appearance.

She is the first Brazilian woman since Maria Bueno in 1968 to reach a Slam semi-final and the first female player from her country to book a last four spot at Roland Garros in the Open Era.

The Tunisian, a finalist in Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, bagged a couple of quick breaks at the start to move into the driving seat with Haddad Maia having trouble dealing with her opponent’s flat groundstrokes.

The Brazilian, having already become the first woman from her country in 55 years to reach the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam, decided to run Jabeur instead.

The Tunisian then deployed her much-feared weapon, plopping drop shots over the net with Haddad Maia quickly going 4-1 down.

Jabeur served out the first set a little later with the left hander sending a forehand wide on the first set point.

Both players held serve without conceding a single break point until 5-5 when Jabeur went 40-15 up on Haddad Maia’s serve but failed to convert either.

Her opponent also wasted a chance in the next game but levelled after winning the tiebreak.

She then raced to a 5-1 lead with Jabeur sending an easy forehand long on her opponent’s first match point.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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