Roland Garros Daily Preview: A Shocking Quartet of Women’s Semifinalists Play for History - UBITENNIS
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Roland Garros Daily Preview: A Shocking Quartet of Women’s Semifinalists Play for History



Maria Sakkari celebrates her victory in the quarterfinals (

With Wednesday’s upset of defending champion Iga Swiatek, this is the first time in the Open Era to have four first-time Major singles semifinalists at the French Open.  There are no top 16 seeds remaining, with the average ranking of the final four equaling No.42.  But let’s be clear: all four definitively earned their spots at this stage, and one will become a first-time Major singles champion.


Also on Thursday, the mixed doubles championship match, as well as the men’s doubles semifinals.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (31) vs. Tamara Zidansek – Not before 3:00pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

After 11 failed attempts at surpassing the quarterfinal round at a Slam in both singles and doubles, Pavlyuchenkova has finally broken through.  She’s spoken openly on re-evaluating her career at the age of 29, realizing it is closer to its end than its beginning, and wanting to reach new heights before retiring.  For Zidansek, this semifinal run has come out of nowhere.  Before this fortnight, the 23-year-old was ranked 85th in the world, and had never advanced beyond the second round of a Major.  And Tamara was only 1-5 at WTA 1000 events.  She’s spoken openly of developing her mental game, and studying psychology through a WTA learning program, has helped her game.

This is not only the first Major semi for both, it’s also their first career meeting.  Both are coming off extended third-set victories: Pavlyuchenkova 9-7 over Elena Rybakinda, and Zidansek 8-6 over Paula Badosa.  In the victory over Badosa, she struck an astounding 39 winners off the forehand side alone.  If she can play as freely and aggressively again on Thursday, I like her chances.  Over the past few years, Roland Garros has seen several surprising finalists.  Neither of these players were atop any list of favorites heading into this tournament.  But at an event that seems to facilitate surprises in women’s singles, I’m going with Zidansek to be this year’s big shocker.  Unlike Anastasia, Tamara may not fully realize just how elusive an opportunity like this can be.

Maria Sakkari (17) vs. Barbora Krejcikova – Immediately following the first women’s semifinal on Court Philippe-Chatrier

In her second Major quarterfinal on Wednesday, Sakkari played spectacularly.  She took out Iga Swiatek in straight sets, when no other player had taken even one set off Iga at this tournament since 2019.  As Tennis Abstract’s Jeff Sackman highlighted on Twitter, that was the 17th consecutive match in which Sakkari claimed at least one set.  The last player against which she failed to do so was her opponent today, who defeated her in straight sets in the opening round of Dubai, their only previous tour-level encounter.

Krejcikova reached the fourth round here a year ago, but outside of that, was just 2-4 at Slams in singles coming into this event.  But she’s been rising quickly at WTA events, with 23-8 record this season, and a current 10-match streak, dating back her title run two weeks ago in Strasbourg.  Barbora is likely relieved to not be facing Swiatek today, who already defeated her twice this year.  Krejcikova has already overcome three seeded players, as well as 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

So will it be Sakkari or Krejcikova who is most ready to earn the biggest win of her career to date for a second straight day?  Sakkari certainly pulled off the bigger upset on Wednesday, so a letdown would only be normal.  However, she’s a confident, gritty fighter who I don’t think will allow this moment to overwhelm her.  Krejcikova has shared how nervous she’s felt before matches, though that hasn’t seemed to effect her play.  But after watching the assertive way in which Sakkari has dismissed three consecutive top 20 seeds, she should be favored to advance to Saturday’s championship match.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury vs. Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev – American Krawczyk was a women’s doubles finalist here last October, while her British partner won men’s doubles at last year’s Australian Open with another American, Rajeev Ram.  Vesnina is a three-time Major champion in women’s doubles, and a one-time champ in mixed.  This is the first Slam final in any discipline for her fellow Russian, Karatsev, who was the breakout singles player this year in Melbourne.

Pablo Andujar and Pedro Martinez vs. Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev – The Spaniards were 2-2 as a team prior to this event, while the partnership from Kazakhstan was just 4-3.  None of these four men have ever appeared in the final of a Grand Slam event.

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (2) vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut – It’s two-time Major champions from Columbia against four-time Major champions from France.  When these teams met earlier this season in Barcelona, Cabal and Farah prevailed 6-2, 6-4.

Thursday’s full schedule is here.


Ons Jabeur Admits Rushing Back From Injury After Roland Garros Exit

Ons Jabeur has admitted she rushed back from injury just to play Roland Garros as she exited the tournament in the quarter-finals.



Ons Jabeur (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur admitted to rushing back from injury during the clay court season after exiting Roland Garros.


The Tunisian is out of the second Grand Slam of the season after a three set defeat to Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Jabeur had control of the majority of the first two sets but a third set capitulation saw her clay court season end in disappointing fashion.

After the match Jabeur admitted it was disappointing to lose but is proud of her tournament in Paris, “We always want to do better, unless we win the title, you know,” Jabeur said in her post-match press conference.

“Yeah, I mean, I think it is a great tournament. I honestly wasn’t expecting to be in the quarterfinals. Especially this is kind of my first tournament after being injured.

“I think it was good. I was trying to push myself until the end, but I think pretty satisfied with the results. You always want to push for more, but I mean hopefully next time will be better, and no more quarterfinal here at the French Open.”

Despite the result Jabeur can be proud of her efforts as she looks to build on a positive week and a half in Paris ahead of the grass court season.

Jabeur also commented on her physical state after a gruelling tournament in Paris.

The Tunisian said nothing is hurting but admitted she wanted to rush back from her injury in order to be back for Roland Garros, “Yeah, thank God, there is nothing hurting. I didn’t have much time to prepare for especially clay season because it’s more physical than any other surface,” Jabeur admitted.

“I’m feeling okay. I think I rushed my way back on tour, but that’s because I wanted to be ready for the French Open. You know, like all the training and the physical training, maybe I didn’t have enough time to prepare for that, but I did my maximum. I did what I could do in a short time period.

“But, yeah, she probably played longer than me, but she’s a beast, and I wish her all the best. I mean, honestly, what she’s doing for — I feel like my story and her story are a little bit similar. I’m very happy for her and for Brazil, and hopefully she can do much more for her country.

“But, yeah, for me now I’m going to try to rest a little bit and be ready, but I’m good for now.”

Jabeur will look to be physically fit ready for the grass court season where she looks to defend her performance from last year where she reached the final.

The Tunisian outlined her grass court season towards the end of the press conference and admitted she’s hoping to play doubles with Venus Williams having played with Serena Williams last year, “Yeah, for now I think I’m going to have the same schedule. Berlin, Eastbourne,” Jabeur said.

“Maybe Venus wants to play doubles there. I’m not sure. She didn’t ask me yet. Then Wimbledon. Just trying to play as much matches as I can. To be honest with you, I want to enjoy playing on grass because I do enjoy a lot. I have my brother’s wedding before, so I’m going to party for a bit and just be ready.

“I’m hoping to go and get the title really in Wimbledon. I’m dreaming about it. It’s something that I always wanted. Last year was unfortunate because I was very close. When I put something in my mind, I know I can do it, so it’s definitely here.”

Jabeur will look to achieve her dream when Wimbledon takes place on the 3rd of July.

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Iga Swiatek Downs Gauff To Set Haddad Maia Semi-Final At Roland Garros

Iga Swiatek reaches her third Roland Garros semi-final with a straight sets win over Coco Gauff.



Iga Swiatek (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek is into the semi-finals at Roland Garros for a third time after defeating Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2.


The Pole extended her head-to-head over the American to 7-0 and 14-0 in sets as her title defence will continue into the final four.

It was a valiant effort by the American but ultimately fell short of reaching the semi-finals for a second consecutive year.

Next for Swiatek is Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals.

It was a positive start from Gauff as she played aggressive, smart tennis from the beginning to test Swiatek from the baseline.

However the Pole edged to a couple of service holds and would break to love in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead as her returning quality showed.

Gauff provided an immediate response in the next game to break back as she tested Swiatek’s rally tolerance and tested the Pole’s defensive rustiness.

The American was holding onto her service games despite producing below 40% of her first serves.

Swiatek continued to find big points in pressure moments as Gauff was producing some big shots on pressure points.

In the end the Pole’s returning presence and quality showed as she broke for the set with Gauff producing a number of errors.

There was a slight moment of hope for the American at the start of the second set as she overcame the poor end to the first set with some effective point construction.

Last year’s finalist set up three break points but made some fairly erratic errors as any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out.

Swiatek remained aggressive, proactive and produced world-class depth to take advantage of Gauff’s error-prone game.

The Pole’s level of play intensified and improved as she sealed too late breaks of serve in impressive fashion as she claimed victory in 90 minutes.

Speaking after the match Swiatek said the match wasn’t easy but was happy to get through, “For sure, it wasn’t easy – the first set, especially, was really tight and Coco was really using the conditions here,” Swiatek was quoted by the BBC as saying.

“I’m pretty happy I was able to work on it and win this match because quarter-finals are sometimes the toughest matches. Even though Coco is young, she is experienced so I’m pretty happy to be in the semi-final.

“We play many tournaments in the year where we have to play day after day but I’m pretty fresh because, as you saw in previous matches. I didn’t really spend too much time on court so I’m actually happy today was a tighter match.

“I will be ready no matter what and not having a day off was something that I knew since the beginning of the tournament so I am ready for this situation.”

Another tough loss for Gauff to take as Swiatek seals her place in the semi-finals in Paris for a third time.

Next for Swiatek will be Beatriz Haddad Maia tomorrow.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia Produces Stunning Comeback Over Jabeur To Reach Roland Garros Semi-Finals

Beatriz Haddad Maia is into her first Grand Slam semi-final after stunning Ons Jabeur.



Beatriz Haddad Maia (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Beatriz Haddad Maia produced a stunning comeback to defeat Ons Jabeur 3-6 7-6(5) 6-1 to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros.


The Brazilian was outplayed for most of the first two sets but ultimately took advantage of an erratic Jabeur.

Too many unforced errors from Jabeur in the third set spoiled an extremely impressive first set and three quarters for the Tunisian.

Haddad Maia now awaits either world number one Iga Swiatek or Coco Gauff in the last four.

The match was split into two halves with Jabeur dominating the first half with an impressive first set.

Jabeur was extremely efficient on serve and used her slice to set up effective winners with Haddad Maia having very little answer to the 14th seed.

The Tunisian broke twice in the opening stages but was broken for a second time in the seventh game as Haddad Maia continued to remain consistent on return.

However Jabeur continued to use her forehand to force Haddad Maia out of position as the seventh seed broke in the eighth game and wrapped up the opening set in 44 minutes.

In the second set Jabeur was flawless on serve, holding to love on four occasions as she looked supremely confident in her baseline play.

Tennis is a strange sport though and it’s all about quality not quantity and about when you are producing your best tennis not for how long.

That was the case as Jabeur had two break points to serve out the match but was too passive and produced a flurry of errors.

Haddad Maia held and never looked back as in the second half, was far the better player as she forced a second set tiebreak.

The Brazilian stormed to a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak and a stunning forehand winner down the line sealed the second set.

From there Jabeur was all over the place with her decision-making and committed the simplest of unforced errors.

As a frustrated Tunisian slammed her racket in frustration, Haddad Maia took full advantage hitting winners from both sides with ease as she secured six of the seven games to secure victory.

A stunned Haddad Maia was in shock as she couldn’t believe her luck as she enters a first Grand Slam semi-final.

Next for Haddad Maia will be either be world number one Iga Swiatek or Coco Gauff in the last four on Thursday.

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