Podoroska 1st qualifier for women’s semifinals

PARIS • Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska became the first qualifier in the Open era yesterday to reach the women’s semifinals at Roland Garros after stunning third seed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4.

World No 131 Podoroska had never won a Grand Slam main draw match before the tournament and is the first Argentine woman to reach the last four of a major since Paola Suarez in Paris in 2004.

The 23-year-old Podoroska will play Polish teenager Iga Swiatek or Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan for a place in Saturday’s final.

“It’s a little bit difficult for me to speak now after the match,” said Podoroska, whose only other Grand Slam appearance came at the 2016 US Open.

“We did a very good job with my coaches during the (coronavirus) quarantine. I’ve been training a lot with all of my team I think that’s why I’m here today.”

It was the first time Podoroska had even faced a player inside the top 20, having started the year ranked a lowly 255.

Svitolina suffered a third quarter-final defeat in as many attempts at Roland Garros, having also lost at this stage in 2015 and 2017.

The Ukrainian hit just eight winners — the same number of times she dropped serves — as she slumped to her worst defeat at a major in terms of her opponent’s ranking.

Meanwhile, world No 57 Danielle Collins will face Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros after a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Tunisian 30th seed Ons Jabeur yesterday.

Collins is one of five unseeded players in the quarterfinals of the women’s draw, the most since Grand Slam tournaments were expanded to 32 seeds in 2001. — AFP