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French Open PIX: Sakkari knocks out Swiatek; Krejcikova in semis

Last updated on: June 09, 2021 20:37 IST
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Images from Day 11 of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Wednesday.

Maria Sakkari

IMAGE: Maria Sakkari celebrates winning her quarter-final match against Iga Swiatek, on Day 11 of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros, on Wednesday. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

The curse of French Open defending champions continued as Iga Swiatek was knocked out 6-4, 6-4 by Greek Maria Sakkari in the French Open quarter-finals, leaving the women's draw wide open on Wednesday.

 

The 20-year-old Pole, who took an off-court medical timeout early in the second set, was overwhelmed by Sakkari's power and pace on court Philippe Chatrier with almost 5,000 spectators now allowed to attend.

World number nine Swiatek, bidding to become the first woman to retain her title since Justine Henin in 2007, got off to a confident start but lacked her usual poise against Sakkari, who dictated most of the points and was greatly helped by her opponent's unforced errors.

Sakkari, the world number 18, will take on Czech Barbora Krejcikova for a place in Saturday's final.

Russian 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova faces unseeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek in the other semi-final.

"I wouldn't have done it without my team, their support. It's still a long way to go but we made a huge step today," Sakkari said on court after her compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the last four in men's draw on Tuesday.

"I just really enjoyed today. Before the start of the match I spoke to myself and said 'It's an important match but just enjoy because this is one of the best stadiums in the world'."

IMAGE: Maria Sakkari, the World No 18, will take on Czech Barbora Krejcikova for a place in Saturday's final. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Swiatek benefited from her opponent's early nerve to go 2-0 up, but she was not exactly settled herself, allowing Sakkari to break back right away.

Swiatek found herself under constant pressure, and Sakkari broke back before stealing her serve again for 5-4 after forcing the Pole to misfire.

The defending champion struggled to cope with Sakkari's brutal accelerations from the baseline and she showed her frustration on several occasions.

The Greek saved a break point in the 10th game before sealing the set with a superb backhand winner to end Swiatek's 22-set winning streak in Paris.

Swiatek took a comfort break but her problems did not go away as she dropped serve in the first game of the second set with another forehand error.

Sakkari followed on serve to lead 2-0 and Swiatek called the trainer on court with an apparent leg problem before taking an off-court medical time out.

She returned with a strap on her right thigh and held serve, but Sakkari stayed solid on her own service games.

Serving for the match at 5-4 Sakkari went 40-0 ahead and after Swiatek saved two match points, she bowed on the third when her forehand sailed wide.

Krejcikova ends Gauff's run to enter semis

Barbora Krejcikova

IMAGE: Barbora Krejcikova hits a forehand during her quarter-final match against Coco Gauff. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Unseeded Barbora Krejcikova reached the semi-finals of the French Open on her fifth appearance in a Grand Slam main draw as she beat a nervy Coco Gauff 7-6(6), 6-3 on Wednesday.

The 33rd-ranked Czech saved five set points as she recovered from a slow start and benefited from her 17-year-old opponent's lack of composure to book a meeting with either defending champion Iga Swiatek or Maria Sakkari.

It was the 25th-seeded Gauff's first quarter-final at a major and after a promising start, the American appeared to crumble under pressure, making 41 unforced errors as she served seven double faults.

Krejcikova is looking to become the first player from the Czech Republic to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Hana Mandlikova in 1981.

Almost 5,000 spectators - up from 1,000 until then - were allowed on a sunkissed court Philippe Chatrier as COVID-19 measures started to ease on Wednesday.

"Thank you so much, it was amazing, we were more pumped. Thanks for cheering," Krejcikova said on court.

"I had never dreamed of being here on this court, reaching the semi-finals. I was behind in the first set but decided to go for every ball and just enjoy myself."

Barbora Krejcikova

IMAGE: Barbora Krejcikova celebrates winning the quarter-final match against Coco Gauff. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Gauff, who geared up for the tournament with her second WTA title in the Emilia Romagna Open in Parma, raced to a 3-0 lead with some aggressive service returns.

But Krejcikova, on a nine-match winning streak on clay on the main tour after winning the Strasbourg title before Roland Garros, broke back for 2-3 as Gauff started to misfire.

Gauff took advantage of a dip in her opponent's first serve percentage to move 5-3 up and serve for the set, only to then lose her composure and drop serve for the second time after wasting a set point.

Krejcikova was again in difficulty on her serve in the 12th game but she saved two more set points to force a tiebreak, in which nerves played a central part with Krejcikova seeing off another couple of set points.

The Czech was less wasteful, hitting a forehand winner on her first set point to take control of the contest.

She won 10 points in a row as she opened a 4-0 lead in the second set. Krejcikova's nerves got to her too as she wasted three match points at 5-1 and allowed Gauff to pull a break back.

Gauff saved another match point with a service winner in the next game. Krejcikova buried a forehand into the net on the next one, but she ended it on her sixth opportunity when her opponent sent a woeful shot wide.

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Source: REUTERS
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