Tunisia's world No.2 tennis player Ons Jabeur rallied from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 at Wimbledon on Tuesday to become the first Arab or North African woman to reach a Grand Slam singles semifinal.
A year after reaching the last-eight in a historic first for Arab women, Jabeur, the third seed at the Wimbledon Championships, went one step further in 2022, reaching the semifinals at a major for the first time and setting up a last-four clash against Tatjana Maria of Germany.
Across both men's and women's tennis, Arabs and North Africans were previously winless in major quarterfinals in the Open Era, including two losses by Jabeur herself; she lost to eventual champion Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open, and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka at Wimbledon 12 months ago.
Maria also came from a set down to beat fellow German Jule Niemeier in the other three-set quarterfinal. Maria and Jabeur will play for the first time in four years on Thursday.
Having lost her two previous Grand Slam quarterfinals in straight sets, Jabeur was slow initially against Bouzkova. She dropped her first set of the tournament in the face of an inspired Czech rival who was bidding to upset the third-seeded player.
Though Jabeur and her semifinal opponent Maria have played three previous times, all were a lifetime ago in the context of their current careers. Maria won their only tour-level meeting in Linz in 2017, with Jabeur earning wins in qualifying matches at the 2014 US Open and in Beijing in 2018.