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Roland Garros: Tsitsipas, Zverev, Pavlyuchenkova, Zidansek into semis

  • Matt Trollope

Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Daniil Medvedev for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament to return to the Roland Garros semifinals.

The fifth seed will next face Alexander Zverev, who ended Alejandro Davidovich Fokina’s breakout fortnight with a commanding straight-sets victory.

Earlier on Tiuesday, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Tamara Zidansek came through a pair of epic women’s quarterfinals to set up a clash for a place in the final.

Pavlyuchenkova beat Elena Rybakina 9-7 in the third set to reach the first major semifinal of her 14-year pro career, after Zidansek stopped Paula Badosa 8-6 in the decider.

Tsitsipas overcomes Medvedev hurdle

Tsitsipas entered his match-up with Medvedev having lost six of seven career meetings with the Russian – including a straight-sets loss in their most recent match in the AO 2021 semifinals.

And despite winning 6-3 7-6(5) 7-5 on Tuesday night, it was nevertheless a deceptively tough straight-sets contest; he was forced to save two set points in the second set, and rebound from 4-2 down in the third.

Medvedev led 40-0 in the final game and looked set to send the third set to a tiebreak, yet Tsitsipas’ rally balls were simply more potent from the baseline, thanks to their weight, shape and margin.

Mededvev sprayed 44 unforced errors to Tsitsipas’ 24 as his flat strokes failed to consistently trouble the in-form Greek. The end came in unusual style on match point when Medvedev chose to serve underarm, which was easily read by Tsitsipas, who swept a backhand winner past the Russian for victory.

Tsitsipas will play for a place in his first major final against Zverev, who thumped Davidovich Fokina 6-4 6-1 6-1.

The win – similarly dominant to his 6-2 6-2 6-1 rout of the young Spaniard at last year’s US Open – sees No.6 seed Zverev move through to the semifinals in Paris for the first time.

Pavlyuchenkova, Zidansek win in dramatic style

While Tuesday’s men’s results were comparatively straightforward, the women’s quarterfinals were anything but – both extended longer in terms of time on court, despite their three-set format.

Pavlyuchenkova, who earlier in the tournament upset Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka, ended Rybakina’s impressive run with a 6-7(2) 6-2 9-7 win.

Having also reached the semifinals in Madrid, No.31 seed Pavlyuchenkova has won nine of her past 10 matches on clay and goes into her semifinal against 85th-ranked Zidansek as the favourite, due to both her superior ranking and experience.

After losing six Grand Slam quarterfinals in singles, and five in doubles, Anastastia Pavlyuchenkova celebrates the moment she finally broke through tp reach a first-ever major semifinal. (Getty Images)

Yet Zidansek has been a revelation this fortnight in Paris, deploying her compact yet complete game to beat a succession of in-form opponents, as well as Grand Slam champion Bianca Andreescu in the opening round.

The Slovene’s latest triumph was a 7-5 4-6 8-6 win over Paula Badosa, during which she survived a wobble when leading 4-2 in the second set, and saved three break points in an epic penultimate game, to seal victory with a forehand winner.

Stat of the day

Pavlyuchenkova had appeared in six Grand Slam singles quarterfinals, and five in doubles, and lost them all.

On Tuesday, she finally broke her last-eight jinx to record the biggest result of her career.

Continuing her rich vein of form, Pavluchenkova’s defeat of Rybakina marked her seventh win over a top-25 opponent during this year’s clay-court season.

Tweet of the day

Quotes of the day

“I feel privileged that I'm in that position, and I feel obviously I've put in a lot of daily hard work and has been a key element of me being here. But you know, my ego tells me I want more.”
- Stefanos Tsitsipas, when asked about the accomplishment of reaching a third major semifinal.

“I think I have always had the game. I have always played good. It's just my mental wasn't there. I wasn't fit enough and mentally maybe not strong enough, where I'm working on this aspect, working with a sports psychologist now quite recent, and already I feel like it's starting to pay off.”
- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

“In the media I was seen, before Medvedev and Tsitsipas arrived, as this guy that was going to all of a sudden take over the tennis world. I was putting pressure on myself as well. I was not very patient with myself, which I feel like now maybe I learned how to deal with the situation a little bit better, I'm maybe a little bit calmer at the (Grand Slam) tournaments.”
- Alexander Zverev, who is through to his third major semifinal.

“At that point you just kind of fight for your life, I guess. I just knew I had to keep going for it. I knew that I can do a lot of damage with my forehand. I've just got to get into the right position. That's exactly what I managed to do.”
- Tamara Zidansek, on the penultimate game of the match during which she saved three break points.

“Before coming here, if anybody would tell me I would be in quarters losing to Tsitsipas in a tough match, I would sign. I will not lie, I would sign, especially being 0-4 in the first rounds before.”
- Daniil Medvedev, who prior to 2021 had never won a match at Roland Garros.

“I didn't feel myself in the whole match. I think I was very nervous. I couldn't control the nerves during the entire match. But at least I fight until the last moment and I had my chances. But, well, credit to her.”
- Paula Badosa

Day 11: Ones to watch

A winning streak will come to an end when Coco Gauff and Barbora Krejcikova clash in the first of Wednesday’s quarterfinals at Court Philippe Chatrier.

Gauff, the recent WTA Parma champion, and Krejcikova, last week’s WTA Strasbourg champion, are unbeaten in their last nine matches and are both appearing in their first major quarterfinal.

ORDER OF PLAY: Roland Garros Day 11

Following that match, defending champions Iga Swaitek and Rafael Nadal will look to continue their dominant progress in Paris when they face Maria Sakkari and Diego Schwartzman respectively. 

The night match at Chatrier sees world No.1 Novak Djokovic take on big-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini, who progressed to the quarters without hitting a ball following Roger Federer;s withdrawal. 

Double duty

Both Swiatek and Krejcikova also remain alive in the women’s doubles after both won their quarterfinal matches on their day off from singles.

For the second straight year, Swiatek has advanced to the women’s doubles semifinals in Paris, this year combining with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and beating Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac 6-3 6-2 on Tuesday.

Krejcikova, teaming with fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova, beat Pliskova twins Karolina and Kristyna 6-4 6-4 to advance to the semifinals in the other half of the draw.

Pavlyuchenkova and Rybakina, doubles partners as well as singles foes, will play Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

In a notable mixed doubles results, 2021 breakout star Aslan Karatsev and comeback queen Elena Vesnina advanced to the final – after beating third seeds Demi Schuurs and Wesley Koolhof 6-4 6-1 – where they will meet Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury.