Argentine Nadia Podoroska became the first qualifier to reach the French Open semifinals in the women’s singles draw when she downed Ukrainian third seed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday.
The World No. 131, on her second appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam, emulates Belgium’s Filip Dewulf, the only qualifier in either of the singles draws since tennis turned professional in 1968 to make it to the last four at Roland Garros, in 1997.
“It’s a little bit difficult for me to speak after the match, thank you everybody for your support, I’m very very happy,” Podoroska said on court Philippe Chatrier. “We did a very good job with my coaches during quarantine. That’s why I’m here today.”
Svitolina, one of the pre-tournament favourites after winning the Strasbourg International last month, was on the back foot throughout, failing at the last-eight stage for the third time at the claycourt Grand Slam.
Coming into Tuesday’s match, the 23-year-old Podoroska had won seven matches in a row at Roland Garros, and she kept that momentum going against Svitolina.
Turning it on
The Ukrainian broke her serve in the first game, but then Podoroska turned on the engine and bagged five games in a row to move to 5-1. Having converted all of her four break points while Svitolina converted only two of six, Podoroska found herself one set up after 37 minutes.
Perfectly mixing power and a gentle touch with drop shots, Podoroska proved too skilful for Svitolina, who looked nothing like the player who reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
Six consecutive games went against serve in the second set until Podoroska held for 5-4 before wrapping it up on Svitolina’s serve on her second match point with a forehand winner.
Collins stops Jabeur
Earlier in the day, unseeded Danielle Collins battled past 30th seed Tunisian Ons Jabeur 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in her career.
In the men’s section, German wildcard Daniel Altmaier’s impressive run was ended by Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta as the 17th seed claimed a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 victory late on Monday. Carreno Busta had to weather a second-set fightback by the 22-year-old but proved too experienced as he reached the quarterfinals for the second time. His reward is a clash with top seed Novak Djokovic in a repeat of their US Open fourth round when the Serbian World No. 1 was defaulted for hitting a line judge with a ball.
Meanwhile, French prosecutors on Tuesday said they have opened an investigation on Oct. 1 into alleged match-fixing in a women’s doubles match.
The prosecutors’ office said the investigation into “fraud in an organised group” and “active and passive corruption”, was related to a match between Romanian pair of Andreea Mitu and Patricia Mari and Russian Yana Sizikova and American Madison Brengle.