Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek has made history as the first woman from her country to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.
Prior to this tournament Zidansek had done no better than reaching the second rounds at the 2019 and 2020 Australian Opens and also the second round at Wimbledon in 2019. Her French Open record was 0-2.
Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also did what she hasn’t managed to achieve despite having played in six Grand Slam singles quarterfinals. Pavlyuchenkova got a win to reach her first slam semifinal.
First of all Zidansek the world no. 85 defeated Spain’s Paula Badosa, the world no. 35. The score was 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 in two hours and 26 minutes.
Badosa had raced to a 3-0 lead in the opening set before Zidansek broke back for 1-3, she then held and broke again to level the score at 3-3.
Two more breaks of serve followed to see the score move to 4-4.
Players would hold until the 12th game when the Slovenian broke again to take the first set 7-5 after 55 minutes.
Zidansek looked to be heading to a straight sets victory when she moved to a 3-1 lead after breaking her opponent.
Badosa broke back only to concede the next game and fall behind 2-4. The Spaniard then won four straight games to take the second set 6-4.
Badosa again had an early lead after breaking in the opening game of the deciding set but that was short lived with Zidansek breaking in the fourth game to level the score at 2-2.
Both players held serve to see the score move to 6-6. The French Open is the only Grand Slam to not have a tie-breaker in a deciding set so the players would fight for the next break.
A marathon game ensued in the 13th game with 16 points needed to decide the game with Zidansek fighting off numerous break points before holding after close to nine minutes.
In the next game Badosa found herself down 15-40 after two unforced errors and a forced error. Zidansek failed to convert the first opportunity however she didn’t miss her chance on the next point.
The match was hers after two hours and 26 minutes.
“I’m really, really happy. Thank you for everyone who came out and supported me, thank you to my team, you’re amazing. Thank you to everyone at home, I’m really, really happy I’m in the semi-finals,” Zidansek said during her on-court interview.
“I knew before the match that it’s going to be a tough battle. I was a set and 4-2 up, she came back, I was struggling a little bit but then in the third set I managed to get my groove and I started feeling better and better and I was fighting really well.
In another long match it was Pavlyuchenkova that came back from a set down to take the match 6-7(2), 6-2, 9-7 against her doubles partner Elena Rybakina.
Rybakina, the world no. 22 had defeated Serena Williams in the previous round.
It the deciding set it was Pavlyuchenkova that showed the most aggression and it gave her the edge, she had broken early to lead 2-0.
Sadly for Rybakina she served a double fault to lose the match.