Six-seed Beatriz Haddad Maia stuns former world number two Ons Jabeur in straight sets to reach her first semifinal this season at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open on Friday.
Brazilian player Beatriz Haddad Maia reached the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open semifinals for the second consecutive year by stunning three-time Grand Slam finalist Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 30 minutes at the International Tennis Center Zayed Sports City on Friday night.
After recording her first 10th career Top 10 win, Haddad Maia shared a few words about the Tunisian player.
During her on-court interview, she said: “Ons, as everybody knows, is a very nice person, a very important player for women’s tennis.”
“She represents us very well; I respect her a lot because of that.”
The World No. 13 will next face seventh seed Daria Kasatkina, who delivered an outstanding performance to put out Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-0 in 74 minutes, advancing to her second semifinal of the season.
Jabeur’s timing seemed off in the first set, and a double fault would cost her a break of serve, quickly finding herself 1-3 in the scoreboard against an adversary who stayed solid behind her serve, playing aggressively to notch the opener 6-3.
The 29-year-old, who progressed to the quarterfinals after prevailing over Briton Emma Raducanu, a result of an inspired performance, could not halt Haddad Maia from making it through back-to-back semifinals in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The five-time WTA titlist attempted a recovery, bouncing back to level up the second set at 2-2, but when the Brazilian stepped up to serve halfway through the tie, a recurrent knee injury, the same that made her miss the tournament last season, led her to burst into tears.
Nonetheless, the restless two-time Wimbledon runner-up found a way to step up the pressure using her vast repertoire, forcing Haddad Maia to fend off three break points before closing out the set 6-4 and the match.
In her post-match press conference, Jabeur outlined: “First of all, congratulations to Beatriz, she played a great game.”
“I was not feeling 100 percent; unfortunately, my knee still bothers me a bit.”
Adding: “Today wasn’t to be my day. I was trying to fight and get through this match, but when you play against someone who plays amazingly like Beatriz, it’s tough to compete.
“I tried my best to stay focused and play my game, but unfortunately, I couldn’t.”
Addressing her knee injury, she asserted: “We go way back with the knee. I’ve been feeling it for the past week, but today was the worst day.
“Usually, during practice, I try to manage, but during matches, it’s a bit tougher.”
Next, the player will seek a diagnosis of her recurrent injury, stating that “the priority now is to find the solution.”
The six seed leads Kasatkina in their series 2-0.