Jasmine Paolini Stuns Rybakina To Reach First Grand Slam Semi-Final At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Jasmine Paolini Stuns Rybakina To Reach First Grand Slam Semi-Final At French Open

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Jasmine Paolini has become the fourth Italian woman in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals of the French Open after knocking out an error-stricken Elena Rybakina. 

The world No.15 fought her way to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, victory in Paris to claim her first win over a top five player at a major event and only her third overall. Before the tournament, Paolini had never won back-to-back matches in Paris and only managed to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam once in 17 attempts. 

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said the 28-year-old 15th seed. 
“It was a really tough match. I think I had a little bit too much emotion in the second set but then I said to myself ‘It’s good, she’s a great champion and this can happen.’ 
“I tried to hit every ball and it worked.” 

Despite playing in her first major quarter-final and being the underdog, Paolini got off to a dream start against a lacklustre Rybakina. Throughout the opener, she produced a highly impressive service display by winning 16 out of 17 points behind her serve. In contrast, world No.4 Rybakina struggled for consistency on the court and produced a costly 16 unforced errors in less than 30 minutes. Paving the way for the Italian to seal a 6-2 lead with relative ease. 

Heading into the second set, Paolini finally faced some stern resistance from former Wimbledon champion Rybakina, who increased the intensity of her hitting. Twice the Kazakh went down a break before she battled back to draw level. Rybakina was eventually rewarded for her fighting spirit as she snatched the second set, closing it out with the help of back-to-back errors from her opponent. 

With a place in the last four at stake, the roller-coaster tussle saw continuous changes in momentum throughout the decider with neither player managing to hold their serve early on. Then towards the business end, Rybakina’s nerves got the better of her at 4-4 after she produced a series of mishits to get broken and hand Paolini a chance to serve the match out. A task Paolini passed with flying colours. 

“I tried to stay there at every point and forget what happened in the second set. I managed to come back and stay focused,” Paolini said of her performance. 
“It was my first time playing on this beautiful court (Philippe Chatrier). It’s a pleasure, a privilege and I’m happy that I got to win my first match played here because it is one of the best courts in tennis.”

The breakthrough comes less than a year after Paolini broke into the world’s top 30 for the first time. In February, she won her first WTA 1000 title in Dubai which was her first trophy of any kind since 2021. Overseeing her rise on the Tour is coach Renzo Furlan who reached the quarter-finals of the French Open in 1995.

Italy now has two players in the last four in Paris after Jannik Sinner reached the same stage in the men’s draw yesterday. Paolini joins Francesca Schiavone, Sara Errani and Martina Trevisan as the only Italian women to reach the French Open semi-finals in the Open Era. 

She will play either Aryna Sabalenka or Mirra Andreeva for a place in the final on Thursday.

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Wimbledon Finalist Jasmine Paolini – ‘I’m A Little Bit Scared To Dream Too Much’

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After coming close to her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Jasmine Paolini believes consistency is key to having another shot at glory.

The 28-year-old dropped only one set en route to becoming the first Italian woman to reach a Wimbledon final. However, she was denied the title by Barbora Krejcikova, who won in three sets. Paolini was broken once in the decider which was due to a double fault from the Italian following an unsuccessful hawk-eye challenge made on her first serve. Then she failed to convert two break points when down 4-5 before Krejcikova held to seal glory.

“I started bad,” she reflected afterwards.

“I took some time and try to relax and to come back in the second set stronger to try to push the ball more because I was a little bit controlling too much, and I missed a lot of shots.

“She was playing, honestly, very good the first set. She was serving really, really good. High percentage of first serves.

“It was tough but I think I did better than the last final (at the French Open), but still it’s not enough.”

Prior to Saturday, Paolini had scored wins over former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Medison Keys (via retirement) and a marathon victory over Donna Vedic. She has now won 15 Grand Slam matches in 2024 compared to just one last season.

The defeat comes less than two months after the French Open where Paolini contested her first major final but lost in two sets to world No.1 Iga Swiatek. Since the start of this season, she has risen more than 20 places in the rankings and will reach No.5 on Monday.

Despite being in her late 20s, the Italian is producing some of her best tennis on the Tour. Something she credits to a combination of things. 

“I improved my game a little bit. I believe more in myself. I improved my serve. I think I improve the return.” She explained.

“I think physically I’m better than two years ago. I’ve been working with a new fitness coach for one-and-a-half years.

“There are many things, I think. Not just one. I think also winning matches helps a lot.”

Whilst she is heading in the right direction on the Tour, Paolini has vowed not to get too ahead of herself.

“Sometimes I’m a little bit scared to dream too much.” she said.

“I’m going back, trying to practice and stay in the present. This is the goal for me and my team, to try to keep this level as much as possible.

“If I keep this level, I think I can have the chance to do great things.

“Today I was dreaming of holding the (Wimbledon) trophy but it didn’t go well.

“I’m just enjoying the position where I am right now.”

Paolini has won 30 out of 43 matches on the Tour so far this season.

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Jasmine Paolini’s Wimbledon Run Hailed By Italian Prime Minister

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Image via x.com/twitter

The Prime Minister of Italy has praised Jasmine Paolini for lighting up the hearts of others during her Wimbledon run. 

Paolini missed out on her first Grand Slam title to Barbora Krejcikova, who prevailed in three sets to capture her second major trophy. Despite her defeat, she has made history at the tournament by becoming the first female player from her country to reach the final. Until this year, she had never won a Tour-level main draw match on the grass. 

Whilst disappointed about missing out on the biggest title of her career, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni posted a tribute to Paolini on social media just moments after the final had concluded.

“Proud of Jasmine Paolini,” The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) quotes Meloni as saying. 

“The first Italian tennis player to reach the final of the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. 

“Despite the defeat, you lit up the hearts of the Italian people, succeeding in conveying grit and passion to all of us who supported you”. 

Paolini is the first player ranked outside the top five to reach the final of both Wimbledon and the French Open within the same year since the ranking system was introduced in 1975. She is also only the fourth female player in the Open Era to have reached her first two Grand Slam finals in the same year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon after Chris Evert (1973), Olga Morozova (1974) and Steffi Graf (1987). 

Should she win three or more matches at the US Open later this year, she will also set a new Open Era record for the most Grand Slam wins achieved by an Italian female player in a single season. 

“The last two months have been crazy for me. I want to thank my team, and my family. They always support me and I wouldn’t be here without them. The crowd have been amazing. I received a lot of support. Just incredible to feel the love from them, I enjoy it so much.” Paolini said following her Wimbledon defeat. 

The 28-year-old will rise to a ranking high of No.3 on Monday. 

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