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Tuesday November 30, 2021

Outsider Zidansek marches into French Open semis

By AFP
June 09, 2021

PARIS: World number 85 Tamara Zidansek became the first woman from Slovenia to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam at the French Open on Tuesday, while Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the 52nd attempt with a three-set win over doubles partner Elena Rybakina.

Pavlyuchenkova, the world number 32, won 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 9-7.

The unheralded Zidansek advanced 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 against Spain’s Paula Badosa and will play Pavlyuchenkova of Russia for a place in Saturday’s final.

“I’m really, really happy to be in the semi-finals,” said Zidansek, who had never gone beyond the second round of a Slam before this year’s Roland Garros.

Zidansek recovered from 3-0 and a double break down in the first set and then saved three break points at 6-6 in the decider against Badosa, the 33rd seed with the most clay court wins (17) on the WTA tour this season.

The Slovene took her second match point to continue her breakout performance. She is two wins away from emulating Maribor-born Mima Jausovec, who won Roland Garros in 1977 while representing Yugoslavia.

Swiatek takes on Greece’s Maria Sakkari for a place in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the 20-year-old teamed up with American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands to reach the women’s doubles semi-finals.

“I feel that with Grand Slams taking place over 14, 15 days, they can be pretty long,” said Piotr Sierzputowski.

“So coming to a match court, it keeps you alive and gives you space to let your emotions go.

“Playing doubles also helps you stay in rhythm, win or lose, you keep your routines.”

Fellow quarter-finalist Barbora Krejcikova, who tackles Coco Gauff on Wednesday, also made the doubles semi-finals with Katerina Siniakova.

Krejcikova was in the mixed doubles with Filip Polasek but the top seeds were defeated in the quarter-finals.

Later on Tuesday, Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas was set to face second seed Medvedev, the Russian who hadn’t won a match in four previous visits to the French Open but has looked increasingly assured on clay over the past week.

Medvedev, a runner-up at the 2019 US Open and this year’s Australian Open finalist, holds a 6-1 head-to-head advantage over Tsitsipas.

He beat the Greek in straight sets in the last four in Melbourne in their most recent meeting.

“He does serve extremely well, I have to say. He has improved over the years with his serve. This is going to be something that I will have to face,” said Tsitsipas, who compared Medvedev’s serve to that of John Isner.

“Of course, myself playing well, I feel like I don’t have to think against who I’m facing or not, I just have to play my game, let the rest be witnessed.”

Medvedev could take over the number one ranking if he reaches the final and Djokovic does not.