IMAGES from Day 11 of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Wednesday
Swiatek shakes off early nerves to reach French Open semi-finals
World number one Iga Swiatek shook off some early nerves to extend her winning series to a staggering 33 as she beat American Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-2 to book her spot in the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday.
Swiatek, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is on the longest unbeaten run in the women's tour since Serena Williams bagged 34 victories in succession in 2013.
The Polish player, gunning for a second title in three years at Roland Garros, appeared a tad shaky in the initial games before marching past the 11th seed to set up a meeting with Russian Daria Kasatkina for a place in Saturday's final.
The 2020 champion is bidding to become the fourth player since 2000 to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup multiple times after Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
"She was playing very low so to be good I had to be low on my legs. It was the key and I'm pretty happy I was playing with a good dynamic to push her back a little bit," said Swiatek on a sunbathed, yet windswept court Philippe Chatrier.
"Sometimes stress is a positive thing, it's going to make you more active and more tense so you can play a good performance. So I tried to use it that way."
Two days after dropping her first set of the tournament, Swiatek got off to a fast start, stealing Pegula's serve with a crosscourt forehand winner.
But unforced errors immediately crept up in her game and she was immediately broken back and showed early signs of nerves.
The Pole, however, went up a break again to lead 4-3 before holding and setting up set points in the ninth game. Pegula did her a favour by sending a routine forehand wide on the second.
Another of those gave Swiatek a break for 3-1 in the second set and she kept her grip, only squandering three match points before wrapping it up on Pegula's serve with a booming backhand winner down the line.
Kasatkina wins all-Russian battle to reach maiden Grand Slam semi-final
Daria Kasatkina beat fellow Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 7-6(5) at the French Open on Wednesday to reach her first ever Grand Slam semi-final.
Kudermetova, playing in front of a scarce crowd, peppered the vast Philippe Chatrier stands with the ball and ultimately paid the price for a scrappy performance with 50 unforced errors - double that of Kasatkina.
"You could see that the match was a really nervous one and tight, especially the tie break," said Kasatkina, who missed four consecutive match points before finally sealing the win.
"It' s a very important win for me and I am happy to be in the semis for the first time. I tried to forget about the games I had lost. It is so mental but am happy that I was able to keep it."
Kasatkina, the world number 20, will next play either top seed Iga Swiatek, who has dropped just one set en route to the last eight, or American 11th seed Jessica Pegula. Kasatkina has not yet dropped a set in the tournament.
In a bruising battle of the baseliners, the two 25-year-olds traded early breaks, and Kasatkina earned two more break points at 3-3.
She was denied before making amends with a sizzling crosscourt forehand two games later to go 5-4 up and serve out the set on her second set point when Kudermetova fired a wild forehand wide.
The pair again exchanged breaks in the opening two games of the second set, but Kudermetova struggled with her serve throughout and Kasatkina broke her again following a disputed line call to go 2-1 up.
She held serve until Kudermetova levelled with yet another break to 4-4. Kudermetova then powered to a 6-5 lead after Kasatkina squandered several break points.
Despite having the advantage for the first time in the match, Kudermetova had to take a medical break to treat a foot injury and lost the next game as well as the tie-break after falling 6-1 behind.
Both players were competing as neutral athletes following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. They will not be competing at Wimbledon later this month, however, after the tournament banned all Russian and Belarusian players from participating