MATCH POINT: Niemeier ends Watson's home Slam dream

Germany is guaranteed to have a semifinalist in the women’s singles draw at Wimbledon. And it’s not former champion Angelique Kerber.

Instead, a pair of unseeded Germans have made their way to the quarterfinals after continuing to impress in their own ways Sunday.

On Centre Court, Jule Niemeier dashed British hopes when she powered past Heather Watson, 6-2, 6-4. Two rounds earlier, the 22-year-old had a taste of playing on a big stage at the All England Club when she shocked No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit, 6-4, 6-0, on No. 1 Court.

Against Watson, Niemeier claimed six consecutive games to jump out to an early lead, and immediately erased a break deficit at the start of the second set in eliminating the home favorite after just 77 minutes. Niemeier finished with 22 winners to 17 unforced errors to add to her memorable main-draw debut here.

"I just wanted to win my first round after losing in Paris. Now, being in the quarterfinal in Wimbledon, I don't know, I'm speechless. It just feels not real," said Niemeier, who just contested her first Grand Slam main draw at Roland Garros in May.

"I'm trying to be creative on court. I can play fast, I can play slower, use the slice, dropshots. That's what I'm trying to do, just mix it up a bit on court so the opponent doesn't know what is coming."

Not long after, Niemeier's experienced countrywoman Tatjana Maria, with plenty of craft herself, completed an inspiring comeback against No. 12 seed Jelena Ostapenko.


The two have never met on tour. Shared Maria, "It's funny actually because we played Bundesliga together in one team. I never really saw her playing."

The two have never met on tour. Shared Maria, "It's funny actually because we played Bundesliga together in one team. I never really saw her playing."

The Latvian was favored to reach the semifinals in a wide-open bottom quarter of the draw. But on No. 1 Court, Maria saved two match points at 4-5, 15-40, in their second set—then recovered from failing to serve out the match at 5-4 in a decider to prevail in two hours and eight minutes. Ostapenko became the third consecutive seed to succumb to the 34-year-old, following No. 26 Sorana Cirstea and No. 5 Maria Sakkari.

Afterwards, Maria was asked about twice returning to the WTA tour from motherhood, having given birth to daughters Charlotte in December 2013 and Cecilia in April 2021.

“There's always the belief that I can do it. I mean, that's why I came back after the first one. It's why I came back after the second one. if I don't believe I can do these things, then I would not be here,” she expressed in her press conference.

“Maybe I can appreciate it more because I know that there are more important things in life than playing a tennis match.”

A prime example: this morning, Maria first hit with Charlotte and a friend on an indoor court before warming up for her fourth-round match. The days may be “flying here” for Maria, but it’s clear she’s taking in every moment. We suspect a maiden major quarterfinal won’t be any different.