Roland-Garros: Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Tamara Zidansek innovate | Tennis News
Posted On June 10, 2021
The four female semi-finalists – Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Tamara Zidansek – have never reached the last four of a Grand Slam before; Sakkakri is the highest ranked among them at 18 in the world
By Emma Thurston
Last updated: 06/09/21 20:35
Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Tamara Zidansek all have two things in common; They have all reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros and none of them have gone this far in a Grand Slam singles draw before.
Sakkari was the last to reserve her place in the last four when she knocked out defending champion Iga Swiatek in straight sets on Wednesday afternoon.
The victory of the world No.18 means that for only the fifth time in Roland Garros history, a player ranked outside the top 10 will lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup on Saturday.
Earlier today, Krejcikova beat 17-year-old Coco Gauff, while Pavlyuchenkova and Zidansek’s wins came on Tuesday.
After the morning’s mixed doubles final, Pavlyuchenkova and Zidansek will be the first to go to Court Philippe-Chatrier for their semi-final. In the process, the winner of this event will closely follow the duel between Krejcikova and Sakkari.
Semi-finalists in Paris:
Krejcikova vs. Sakkari 🇬🇷 Pavlyuchenkova vs. Zidansek 🇸🇮#Roland Garros
Pavlyuchenkova is the first Russian woman to reach the semi-final of a Grand Slam since Elena Vesnina at Wimbledon in 2016. If she wins over Zidansek, she will become the first Russian Grand Slam finalist in six years.
The 29-year-old won three slams as a junior but hasn’t reached the same heights on the senior circuit. And, she’s been honest about the steps she’s now taken to try to rectify it.
“I think I’ve always had the game,” she said. “I was not fit enough and mentally maybe not strong enough where I am working on this aspect. I am now working with a sports psychologist and I already feel like it is starting to pay off. “
15th seed Victoria Azarenka and third seed Aryna Sabalenka both fell to the Russian and in the quarterfinals she had the difficult task of sidelining her women’s doubles partner.
Zidansek hardened in the fight for more
Zidansek, who was a snowboarding champion as a child, beat former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the first round. From there, she continued to ramp up ahead of a tough quarterfinal.
“It’s overwhelming,” she said after her 7-5 4-6 8-6 win over Paula Badosa. “It’s hard to understand that fast. But I’m just trying to focus on my game, on myself.”
After leading by a set and a break, Zidansek allowed Badosa more than just a glance. The Spaniard led early in the deciding game, before the 23-year-old had the strength of character to produce the merchandise during the game’s decisive moments.
Zidansek won her two sets against Badosa from behind, and although she ultimately won it, giving Pavlyuchenkova determined opportunities like this in their semi-final could be fatal.
Krejcikova eager to add to double success
During her run to the semi-finals, Krejcikova dismissed a number of high-quality opponents, including Gauff, Sloane Stephens and Elina Svitolina in straight sets.
In her quarter-final, the 25-year-old showed resilience as she saved five set points in the opening set against Gauff and kept her cool to win on her sixth match point. Her tally of 27 winners for 28 unforced errors will need to improve in her semi-final, but she will know it.
Krejcikova is perhaps best known for her doubles prowess. She has already won the Roland-Garros doubles crown with Katerina Siniakova and reached the world’s first place in doubles. Although she is proud of her achievements, she wants to get rid of the label “specialist”.
“I never really wanted to be a doubles specialist,” she said. “Everyone just put a tag on me. We won our first two Grand Slams when I was 22, I felt like I didn’t want to be a doubles specialist when I was 22 years.
“I want to play in singles. I want to work hard, improve my game. I really want to face the best players in singles.”
Sakkari trusts his game
Before his meeting with Sakkari, Iga Swiatek had won 11 consecutive matches at Roland Garros and all in straight sets.
However, on Wednesday on Philippe-Chatrier court, Swaitek’s Greek opponent scored his card. Once Sakkari sidelined a few nerves, she stressed out the defending champion and put her power play to good use.
Before the match, Sakkari said she was going to “play her own game” and execute her tactics well against Swiatek.
“It is going to be very difficult, but I am confident that my coaches will give me the right game plan. So far I have executed everything they said very well. I trust myself and I trust their game plan. I think that’s gonna work out. “
His coach, former British player Tom Hill, has previously said he is “obsessed” with tactics and strategies, but with Krejcikova holding a 2-0 lead in their head-to-head, the pair will need to tweak. some elements to reserve a place for the final on Saturday.
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