Germany’s Tatjana Maria, the oldest player in the Wimbledon women’s draw at age 34, caused one of the tournament’s disruptions on Saturday by knocking out fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari 6-3, 7-5 and fourth. round of a grandiose slam for the first time in her career.
Most important points:
- Tatjana Maria, ranked 103rd, returned to tennis from maternity leave just under a year ago
- She fought back from 5-2 down in the second set to win the match 6-3, 7-5
- Belgium’s Elise Mertens defeated former champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5 to face the world’s number two Ons Jabeur in the fourth round.
Maria then takes on twelfth-seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, for a spot in the quarterfinals.
“It feels great. I’m in the last 16 for the first time, so that’s great. To win against Sakkari today, yeah, it’s pretty awesome,” she told reporters.
“I think I played a good game from start to finish. Yes, it makes me happy.”
Ranked 103rd, the mother of two returned from maternity leave just under a year ago.
In the previous round, Maria went down 3-0 in the deciding set to defeat Sorana Cirstea and claim her first win over a top-50 player in over two years.
She had to fight back from 5-2 deficit against Sakkari in the second set on Saturday to avenge her hard-fought defeat in the opening round of this year’s Australian Open.
“It also gave me confidence. And I knew I had my chances. If I play smart and well, I can win this game.”
Sakkari, who reached the French and US Open semifinals last year, committed 30 unforced errors and managed to convert just one of her seven breakpoint chances.
But Maria’s win was not the only disappointment of the day, with former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber being defeated by Belgium’s Ellise Mertens 6-4, 7-5.
Mertens had her best grand slam performance on the grass track in 2019 when she made it to the last 16, and got into Saturday’s game by beating Kerber in their only previous encounter three years ago.
The 26-year-old, who finished 12th in his career in 2018, had to save two match points against Panna Udvardy in a lengthy second-round duel that stretched over two days.
“It was a very good game from my side,” Mertens told reporters after beating 15th seed Kerber.
“Just before that, I had saved two difficult, two match points. So I’m very happy that I was able to finish it in two sets.
“I think my level was much better today than the past few days.”
Mertens, who won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2021, has now reached the third round of the last 18 majors in which she has competed and will face Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur for a place in the quarter-finals.
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