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It's Day 9 of Wimbledon 2022, the first day of the quarterfinals. And there are a lot of first-timers out there. Of the eight players taking the court on Tuesday, four of them have never made a Grand Slam quarterfinal before, and one has never made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
It's very possible we'll have a first-time winner at Wimbledon this year, but there are still a number of matches to play before we find out. If the tennis we've seen in the first eight days is any indication, it's going to be a thrilling ride to the end.
You can find the results of the matches from Day 9 below.
Novak Djokovic ekes out comeback win over Jannik Sinner
Novak Djokovic has won his last 36 matches on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, but on Tuesday that streak came dangerously close to ending when Djokovic faced the young, talented Italian Jannik Sinner. Sinner, who is just 20 and the No. 10 seed, had Djokovic cornered several times and even jumped out to two-set lead. But in the end he couldn’t keep up the pace against Djokovic, the No. 1 seed and the No. 3 player in the world. Djokovic prevailed 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in a thrilling five-setter that lasted three hours and 35 minutes.
For Djokovic, it was largely the same storyline that we’ve seen from him in Grand Slams this year and in the past. At some point during the match, typically after he loses a set (or two in this case), he focuses, turns on the killer tennis robot that lives inside his brain, and gets down to business. You could almost see the red lasers in his eyes as he bore down on Sinner in the third set, playing the unforgiving tennis he’s known for. It’s possible the early sets were a miscalculation by Djokovic, or maybe a dangerous style of rope-a-dope. Either way, when he turns it on, it’s on.
It was a much different story in the first two sets. Djokovic had a 4-1 lead to start the match, but then Sinner began crawling back. Sinner is long-limbed and agile, and his serve was tough for Djokovic to handle. After Sinner shook off the initial tightness, he started attacking and returning with authority. He came back from a three-game deficit to tie the set at 5-5, and then won the set with victories in the final two games. In the second set he outplayed Djokovic, who could barely score a point in the first three games and lost some close ones in the last few.
The third set is when Djokovic came roaring back, and when Sinner couldn’t quite keep up. The years of experience Djokovic has as a 35-year-old are tough for a young player to overcome, and Sinner began to noticeably run out of gas in the fourth set. Djokovic barely let Sinner breathe, jumping out to a 4-0 lead before Sinner won his first game. He forced a fifth set, which came to a halt early on when Sinner took a dangerous spill. Sinner was fine, but at that point, the match was over. Djokovic cruised in the final games, and will make his 11th trip to the Wimbledon semifinals.
Jabeur makes first Grand Slam semi with historic win over Bouzkova
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, the highest-seeded woman left in the entire tournament at No. 3, punched her ticket to her first Grand Slam semifinal with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 statement win over the unseeded Marie Bouzkova. This is a historic victory for Jabeur and all of tennis, as she's now the first Arab or North African woman to reach a Grand Slam singles semifinal.
When the match started, Jabeur did not look like herself. She was slow and tentative, and let the set get away from her quickly. But then Jabeur gathered herself, remembered that she's the No. 2 tennis player in the world, and set off on two sets of dominating tennis. She sent a barrage of shots toward Bouzkova on every part of the court, and her defense was on point. Bouzkova could only manage one win in each of the final two sets while Jabeur broke her serve six times.
Jabeur's history-making win puts her within one match of being the first Arab or North African woman to make a Grand Slam final. She'll face Tatjana Maria on Thursday.
Tatjana Maria defeats Jule Niemeier in battle of German women
German women's tennis was on full display on Tuesday, with Tatjana Maria defeating her fellow countrywoman Jule Niemeier 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 to move on to the semifinals. It was the first trip to a Grand Slam quarterfinal for both Maria, 34, and Niemeier, 22. They took one set each to force the deciding third set, which Maria won in a squeaker.
This is Maria's first Grand Slam semifinal, and at age 34, it's been a long journey. She turned pro in 2005, and until Tuesday, her best result at any major had been a third-round finish at Wimbledon in 2015. At Wimbledon 2022, her 10th appearance at the All England Club, she had to beat three seeded players (No. 26 Sorana Cirstea in Round 2, No. 5 Maria Sakkari in Round 3, and No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko in Round 4) to make it to the quarterfinals. With her win over Niemeier, Maria becomes just the sixth woman ever to make her Wimbledon semifinal debut at age 34 or later.
A trip to a Grand Slam semi would be thrilling for most players, but it means so much more to Maria. She's the mother of two daughters, an 8-year-old and a 1-year-old, and last year at this time, Maria had just given birth. She took maternity leave (as she did after the arrival of her older daughter), and returned to competition in late summer 2021. She struggled, though, and didn't make it out of the first round at the U.S. Open, the Australian Open or the French Open. But she's thrived on the grass of Wimbledon, making a breakthrough she's fought for her entire career.
Maria will face Ons Jabeur on Thursday.
Norrie defeats Goffin to keep UK hopes alive
The UK's hope of having a home country champion is still alive, thanks to Cameron Norrie's 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over David Goffin. It was a gritty five-setter, with the momentum shifting within sets and even individual games. Goffin, 31, was in control from the start, winning the first set with little struggle as Norrie, 26 and in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, appear to struggle with nerves. He improved in the second set, recovering and fighting for every point to even the score 1-1.
Norrie stumbled again in the third set, but facing a 2-1 deficit, he came alive in the final two sets. With the British crowd roaring behind him, he surged to nail down what is likely the biggest win of his career to this point.
This is Norrie's first trip to a Grand Slam semifinal. His best result at any major before Wimbledon 2022 was the third round, which he'd achieved at each Slam in the past few years. He's now the fourth different British man to make a Wimbledon semifinal, joining Andy Murray, Tim Henman, and Roger Taylor.
Norrie will face Novak Djokovic in the semis on Thursday.