Ons Jaber vs. Tayana Maria, big friends play in Wimbledon semi-finals, photo from Instagram

Tennis is a brutal sport, especially when history is at stake.

World No. 2 Ons Jaber became the first Arab woman to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament on Tuesday, arranging a meeting at Wimbledon with her “barbecue buddy” Tatiana Maria.

Tunisia lost one set to Czech rival Marie Buzkova, but lost only two games after that, winning on center court with a score of 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

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Previously, Maria, a mother of two, also managed to beat German compatriot Jules Niemeyer 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 despite losing the first set and falling behind by a break in the second and third sets.

Gills is the only remaining player seeded in the top 15 remaining in the All England Club tournament.

The 27-year-old said she was happy to have “woken up” after a disappointing first set.

“I am very, very happy, especially that it happened on this court, because I love this court so much,” she said. “I hope my journey continues.”

But she explained that it would be difficult for her to meet 34-year-old Maria, whom she called her “barbecue buddy.”

She added, “It will be difficult to play her (Maria), she is a great friend. I’m really happy that she’s in the semi-finals – look at her now, she’s in the semi-finals after having two kids. This is an amazing story.

“I know she suffered a lot and it is not easy to return to tennis after having two children. It will be a great game that we both have a lot of respect for.”

However, this did not stop Jabert from luring Mary’s daughter to his side.

“I joked with Charlotte [Maria’s older daughter] and I tried to convince her to support me in the semi-finals, I want them to come over to my side,” she said, laughing.

“They are very sweet and I am very happy that she has what she deserves. We may not be friends during the game, but after it we will become friends again. Her family once invited me to their house and it will be amazing to be with them, I love them so much.”

Tunisia, having not lost a single set en route to the quarter-finals, lost twice in the first set to Buzkova, who finished 66th.

But things were different for the remainder of the match, as she hit her opponent’s serve six times, scoring 30 goals – more than twice as many as her opponent.

Germany’s Maria, ranked 103rd, came out of maternity leave less than a year ago after giving birth to her second daughter.

In Tuesday’s game – just the third quarter-final of a German Grand Slam in the Open era – Niemeyer’s early break proved decisive in the first set.

The 22-year-old then broke down again at the start of the second set to take the match with an iron grip, but Maria bounced back with three breaks to equalize.

World number 97 Niemeyer again drew first blood in the deciding set, breaking in the fifth game to save the serve to lead 4-2.

But Maria brought the score back to 4-4 and broke again in game 12, sealing the win in two hours and 18 minutes.

The German veteran, who saved two match points in the previous round against No. 12 Elena Ostapenko, made his Grand Slam debut in 2007 and never made it past the third round of the majors until Wimbledon this year.

But she said she always believed in her ability to make something special, despite her boring track record at the Helmets.

“To be here now, in this place – I mean, as I said, a year ago I gave birth to my second daughter – if anyone tells me a year later: “you are in the semi-finals of Wimbledon”, this is crazy, She said.

Even before her quarter-finals on Tuesday, everything was business as usual for Maria, who took her eight-year-old daughter to tennis practice and said she would change her 15-month-old baby’s diapers after the win.

“I mean, off the court, nothing changes for me for a moment, so I try to keep it that way,” she said. “We will continue even if I play in the semi-finals.”

On Wednesday, Yelena Rybakina from Kazakhstan will face Australia’s Ayla Tomljanovich for a place in the semi-finals, while former tournament winner Simona Halep from Romania will play against American Amanda Anisimova.

Originally published as “I want them to be on my side”: Ons Zhaber is trying to win over the children of Tatiana Maria