Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 9, 2021 Poland’s Iga Swiatek in motion throughout her quarter closing match towards Greece’s Maria Sakkari REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
June 9, 2021
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – The curse of French Open defending champions continued as Iga Swiatek was knocked out 6-4 6-4 by Greek Maria Sakkari within the French Open quarter-finals, leaving the ladies’s draw huge open on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Pole, who took an off-court medical timeout early within the second set, was overwhelmed by Sakkari’s energy and tempo on court docket Philippe Chatrier with nearly 5,000 spectators now allowed to attend.
World quantity 9 Swiatek, bidding to change into the primary lady to retain her title since Justine Henin in 2007, bought off to a assured begin however lacked her common poise towards Sakkari, who dictated many of the factors and was vastly helped by her opponent’s unforced errors.
Sakkari, the world quantity 18, will tackle Czech Barbora Krejcikova for a spot in Saturday’s closing.
Though she is the highest-ranked participant left within the draw, 25-year-old Sakkari doesn’t consider she is now the favorite for the title.
“The remainder of the women are enjoying extraordinarily nicely. I feel the draw has modified a lot so it doesn’t actually matter who was the best ranked on this event,” she mentioned.
“We’re 4 excellent gamers. I don’t assume the rating issues, to be sincere.”
Russian thirty first seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (29) faces unseeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek (23) within the different semi-final.
“I wouldn’t have accomplished it with out my crew, their help. It’s nonetheless an extended technique to go however we made an enormous step at present,” Sakkari mentioned on court docket after her compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the final 4 within the males’s draw on Tuesday.
“I simply actually loved at present. Earlier than the beginning of the match I spoke to myself and mentioned ‘It’s an essential match however simply get pleasure from as a result of this is without doubt one of the greatest stadiums on this planet’.”
Swiatek benefited from her opponent’s early nerves to go 2-0 up, however she was not precisely settled herself, permitting Sakkari to interrupt again instantly.
Swiatek then discovered herself beneath fixed stress, and Sakkari broke again earlier than stealing her serve once more for 5-4 after forcing the Pole to misfire.
The defending champion struggled to deal with Sakkari’s brutal accelerations from the baseline and he or she confirmed her frustration on a number of events.
The Greek saved a break level within the tenth sport earlier than sealing the set with a backhand winner to finish Swiatek’s 22-set profitable streak in Paris.
Swiatek took a consolation break however her issues didn’t go away as she dropped serve within the first sport of the second set with one other forehand error.
Sakkari adopted on serve to steer 2-0 and Swiatek known as the coach on court docket with an obvious leg drawback earlier than taking an off-court medical trip.
She returned with a strap on her proper thigh and held serve, however Sakkari stayed strong on her personal service video games.
Serving for the match at 5-4 Sakkari went 40-0 forward and after Swiatek saved two match factors, she bowed on the third when her forehand sailed huge.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Modifying by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Hugh Lawson)