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Sakkari defeats defending champion Swiatek to reach French Open semifinals

10 Jun 2021 / 09:00 H.

PARIS: Maria Sakkari (pix) defeated defending champion Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-4 to become the first Greek woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal at the French Open on Wednesday.

The world No. 18 will face unseeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic for a place in the final after seeing off Swiatek who had required a medical timeout early in the second set.

Thursday’s other semifinal sees Russian 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova tackle unseeded Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia.

“I am speechless. It is a dream coming true. I don’t know, it is a very nice feeling and I could not have done it without my team and their support,” said the 25-year-old.

“We have a long way to go but we made a huge step today.

“I enjoyed myself and sat down and said to myself it is an important match but to enjoy it. I had to enjoy it.”

For only the second time in the Open era, there are four first-time Grand Slam semifinalists in women’s singles, after the 1978 Australian Open.

Furthermore, for just the fifth time in Roland Garros history, a player seeded outside the top 10 will lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen on Saturday.

Sakkari is the second Greek in the semifinals of the singles at this year’s French Open after Stefanos Tsitsipas made the men’s last four on Tuesday.

Swiatek had carved a break for 2-0 in the first set before the Greek quickly levelled, breaking again for a 5-4 lead.

Sakkari confidently pocketed the opener, ending the champion’s run of 22 straight sets won at the tournament.

When Swiatek slipped 0-2 down in the second set, the Pole left the court for a medical timeout, returning with her right thigh tightly strapped.

Swiatek had to battle to avoid going a double break down in the fifth game but eventually succumbed in the 10th.

Sakkari reaped the reward for her all-out attacking game with five aces and 26 winners. – AFP

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