Great Day for Argentines in Paris as both Qualifier Nadia Podoroska and 12th Seed Diego Schwartzman Reach Roland Garros Semis
(October 6, 2020) It was a history-making day in Paris for a pair of players from Argentina on Tuesday. Qualifier Nadia Podoroska and 12th seed Diego Schwartzman reached the semifinals of the French Open, posting upsets.
Podoroska, 23, ranked 131st in the world knocked out No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-2, 6-4 to become the first female qualifier in the Open Era to make the final four of Roland Garros.
Coming into the tournament the Argentine of Ukrainian extraction had never won a match at a major, nor won a match against a Top 50 player.
“It’s difficult for me to speak after the match, but thanks everyone for your support. I’m very, very happy!” she said on court after the victory.
“We did a good job with my coaches during quarantine. I’ve been training a lot with all of my team and I think that’s why I’m here today.”
“No, I don’t want to wake up,” she said to media.
“For me it’s very special because in all South America we don’t have too many tournaments. It’s very complicated for all the South American girls playing tennis. For me, I think it’s good that I’m having these results. Maybe it’s going to help for all the young girls.”
The last woman from Argentina to make the semifinals of the French Open came back in 2004.
“It was a tough match for me today,” Svitolina said to media. “Lots of things were not going my way. I wish I could handle the match a little bit different. But to be fair, you know, she really played a great match. With the conditions, it was not easy for me to change something. In the end here and there I was, yeah, I was not 100% mentally on it today, and that was really disappointing.”
The world No. 131 will play Iga Swiatek for a spot in the final.
No. 12 seed Diego Schwartzman will be joining his countrywoman in a berth in the final four. Schwartzman outlasted US Open champion and No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-2 in five-hours and 8 minutes. Three different times, Thiem was within two points of winning the match.
This will be the Argentine’s first major semifinal on Friday, when he’ll play defending champion and 12-time winner of Roland Garros Rafael Nadal.
“The second set, the third set, I had a lot of opportunities, also easy opportunities,” Schwartzman said.
“That’s why I was really upset, really angry with me at that time in the second and in the third, when I was close to win in that sets. I couldn’t do it. It was a tough situation because in the fourth, he started playing so well. I did the comeback, serving 5-4, 40-Love. He played three unreal points, amazing points, because he’s one of the best and he can do it. At that time I was thinking, Okay, c’mon, today is not going to happen. I had a lot of opportunities, easy, tough ones, hard. Every single opportunity was different. I didn’t took it. Then the tiebreak was crazy. I played an amazing tiebreak in the fourth. In the fifth, I keep doing the same thing, being solid. At the end I think physically I finish better than him, so that’s why was the win.”
“I was over the limit today,” Thiem admitted. “I gave everything what I had out there. It was an amazing match. I think the first in my career over five hours. Diego fully deserves it.”
“It was still quite an enjoyable match, like amazing rallies, so close four sets actually. Time was flying there. At the net I just told him that he deserves it. I think he’s for the first time top 10 with that win. That’s also great achievement. First Grand Slam semifinals. I mean, we both gave everything. Well, the thing in tennis is that there is one loser, one winner. Despite I’m so disappointed, I’m still happy for him.”
Rafael Nadal ended a late night in Paris with a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1 win over 19-year-old Jannick Sinner of Italy at 1:30 a.m on Wednesday. Nadal is into his 13th French Open semifinal, a record.
“Of course, is not ideal finish, a match at 1:30 in the morning, “ Nadal said. “But the problem is the weather. Is too cold to play. Honestly, is very, very cold to play tennis, no? I know football players plays under these conditions, but is little bit different. They are all the time moving. We stop, we come back, we stop on the changeovers. It is a sport that you are stopped in a lot of moments, no? I think is little bit dangerous for the body play with these very heavy conditions. But that’s what happened today. I really don’t know why they put five matches on the Chatrier today. That was a risk. I saw immediately yesterday when they send me the schedule because there is a chance there is a couple of long matches. That’s what happened. Little bit unlucky, of course. For me, I just tried to be patient, accept everything, and be in a positive shape.”
Sinner actually served for the first set but could close it out.
“I had chances in the first set,” He said. “I had chances in the second set. I didn’t use them. I’ve been break up in both sets. When you are a break up, the thing what you have to do, you have to try to play your service game better, which today I didn’t. Obviously it’s tough against him. He’s not missing that much. The ball is quite heavy. You have to be with the right balance on court, to don’t go too much and not too low. If you don’t go with not enough speed, he will go for the winners or he’s going to move me, which he has done in the first service game of the match. He had the ball and he started to move, to move, to move. After that I tried to go in the court, trying to play a little bit faster, take his time away. It worked quite well. As I said, I had chances in the first and second set. Unfortunately I didn’t use them. Then when he goes up two sets to love with break, it’s not that easy. I tried to stay there. There’s been 2-Love in the third set new balls. He went a little bit more. I missed two balls. It’snot easy to get back. He deserves where he is. Yeah, congrats to him.”
As for playing Schwartzman, who beat him in Rome two weeks ago, Nadal said: “Of course, is a challenge. No, no, when you lost to somebody, is because he’s playing well. Today he played an amazing match against one of the best players of the world, without a doubt, especially on this surface. He’s coming with big confidence, no? Two weeks in a row… He’s in the final in Rome, he’s in the semifinals here. He beat me there. It’s a plus of confidence for him. I know that. I’m going to try to go on court, play my best, try to play my game, play aggressive, try to do something a little bit different than what I did in Rome, of course. Hope to be ready to play my best. That’s what I need. That’s what I am looking for. I going to give my best until the end. I have two days to practice the things that I need to keep improving, and that’s what I going to do.”
The Spaniard is 10-1 overall versus the Argentine.
Polish teenager Iga Swiatek backed up her fourth-round win over the top seed Simona Halep with a 6-3, 6-1 win over qualifier Martina Trevisan of Italy, ranked 159th to reach her first major semifinal.
Swiatek trailed 3-1 before winning 11 out of the next 12 games to close out the victory.
She’ll take on another qualifier in Podoroska for a spot in the final,
“It’s going to be the same,” she said. “I’m just going to focus more on keeping my body in a good condition because I also play doubles, I play matches every day. I’m going to be focusing more on that, on recovery. I’m going to not use my phone probably because I’m going to answer all the congratulations later. I just want to focus on the tournament still. Yeah, I’m just going to keep it going. I’m going to keep everything the same. Just doing better recovery because it’s second week and we are all pretty tired.”
“I hope it’s going to be a good match. I hope I’m going to play earlier and the conditions are going to be easier.”
Despite the loss, the Italian qualifier said she had a great French Open experience. “Incredible. I’m really happy anyway. Today was really tough match. She’s a rising player, so she has a lot of positive energy. Today the condition were really, really bad, a lot of wind. It’s okay anyway. I’m sad for the match, but it’s an incredible two weeks for me. So today I close a very important chapter of my life. Tomorrow other chapters will begin. I’m just happy.”
In the last match of the fourth round which was moved over from Monday due to the rain, American Danielle Collins reached the quarterfinals for the first time at Roland Garros after beating No.30 Ons Jabeur 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Collins jumped out to a 6-4 3-0 lead before Jabeur began her comeback, winning five straight games.
“I think it was very close today,” said Jabeur, who reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. “I had my opportunity. She had hers. I mean, that’s tennis, obviously. Actually, I’m a little bit disappointed in my dropshots today because it was kind of hard to do them the way I wanted to. I know she was running really good to them and she was kind of making me not, I mean, happy with the way I did it. So honestly I feel like today the condition also bothered me. It was sunny but then raining and then the court was heavy. It was kind of difficult. But I’m kind of disappointed but hopefully this won’t hurt much.”
Collins talked about her new coach Nicholas Almagro, former ATP player. “Nico has had a great impact on my tennis already because he understands what I go through on the court because he’s been in this position many times before. He’s had a very long, successful career on tour. So I think we relate to each other a lot, and he’s able to use his experiences to try to make me a better player. So even though we have only been working with each other for a short period of time, I do feel he’s having a positive impact on my performance and my game. I think it makes a really big difference when you have a coach that has been in the positions that you have been in on court. I think it’s very rare to find somebody of Nico’s caliber as a player to be coaching at this level. I mean, maybe it’s not extremely rare, but it’s certainly very difficult to find the week before a tournament starts, especially Roland Garros. So I was very grateful to be able to have him here on such short notice. Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling together.”
Collins will play countrywoman and No. 4 seed Sofia Kenin for a spot in the semifinals.
“We’ve had some great matches in the past, and she’s obviously had a lot of success this year playing some really great tennis here. So I know that it’s going to be another battle and another fun match.”