Ons Jabeur's French Open campaign came to a dramatic end as she lost to Beatriz Haddad Maia despite winning the first set of their quarter-final on Wednesday.
Tunisian Jabeur was hoping to lift her first major title at Roland Garros and looked set to move one step closer to her dream. But against a defiant Haddad Maia, Jabeur fell short.
Jabeur, targeting a third Grand Slam semi-final in less than a year, lost 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 as her Brazilian opponent battled back bravely to book her own maiden last four Slam appearance.
Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 1968. The 27-year-old left-hander follows in the footsteps of seven-time major winner Maria Bueno who was the last Brazilian woman in the semi-finals of a major - at the US Open.
After playing nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, Haddad Maia won only one of her service games in the first set. But she saved the only two break points she faced in the second set - both in the 11th game to go up 6-5 - and won the tiebreaker.
The 27-year-old started the deciding set with a double break and a 3-0 lead. A frustrated Jabeur flipped her racket in the air after sending an easy backhand wide on a break-point opportunity while down 4-1. Haddad Maia won the game and served out the match.
"In Grand Slams we have the chance to recover for one day, so I had a day off and I have an amazing team. We work all year long to be in this moment," she said after the win.
"I remember in the middle of the second set, my coach showed me the clock, it was one hour and a half, and I thought, 'OK maybe I have two more hours'. I had to be patient, she’s (Jabeur) one of the best players in the world. I’m very happy with me and my team today.
“Not easy to play against her, she’s streaky sometimes. I had to be patient. It’s not easy to keep the rhythm with the shots in two, three hours. I always believe in my body, when the matches go long.”