Rafael Nadal beat Diego Schwartzman to claim his place in the last four.
Defending women’s singles champion Iga Swiatek suffered a surprising 4-6, 4-6 loss to Maria Sakkari in the French Open quarterfinals. Swiatek, who was aiming to become the first woman to defend her title since Justine Henin in 2007, got off to a confident start, but lacked her usual poise committing several unforced errors.
The 20-year-old Pole took a medical timeout early in the second set after an issue with her upper thigh. However, the break did little to swing the momentum in her favour, as Sakkari’s power and pace were too good on the day. The Greek star treated the 5000-odd spectators allowed at the Philippe Chatrier to a power-packed display.
Owing to the result, the women’s side of the ongoing French Open is now wide open. Infact, all four participants have reached their maiden Grand Slam semi-final. Sakkari holds the highest rank at 18th amongst them, with Slovenian Tamara Zidansek ranked as low as 85th.
Nadal overcomes tough battle
Four-time reigning champion Rafael Nadal had to work hard in his quarterfinal tie, eventually triumphing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 over World No. 10 Diego Schwartzman. The diminutive Argentine showed temerity in the opening stages, notably snapping the Spaniard’s streak of 36 consecutive set wins at the French Open in the second set. But, Nadal’s brutal hitting dragged him right back into the contest and he steadied the ship from thereon.
Schwartzman, who is currently the only non-European in the top 10, didn’t have enough in the tank at the end. Nadal had lost to Schwartzman at the Italian Open last year. The Spaniard will tackle either Novak Djokovic or Matteo Berrettini in a bid to reach yet another final on his beloved red soil.
Greek glory continues
Roland Garros 2021 is turning out to be a fantastic tournament for Greek tennis. It is not just Maria Sakkari who has reached the last four, but also her compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas who will be in action in the men’s semis.
World No. 5 Tsitsipas got the better of World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in a battling night session performance. Tsitsipas won 6-3, 7-6, 7-5 and got revenge for his Australian Open semi-final loss to the Russian earlier this year. The 22-year-old will take on fellow exciting prospect Alexander Zverev in an enticing semi-final contest.
Unseeded Krejcikova fancies her chances
Elsewhere, Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova reached the semi-finals of the French Open in her fifth Grand Slam main draw appearance. Krejcikova beat 17-year-old Coco Gauff, courtesy of a nerve-wracking tie-breaker in the first set followed by a rather comfortable win in the second set.
The Czech emerged victorious 7-6, 6-3 against a nervy Gauff on a sun-kissed Philippe Chatrier court. World No. 33 Krejcikova will now be hoping to go all the way, with Maria Sakkari now standing in between her and the prestigious Roland Garros final.