Defending Champ Swiatek Ousted by Sakkari, Nadal and Djokovic Reach Semis of Roland Garros
(June 9, 2021) Defending women’s champion Iga Swiatek had her run in Paris end in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, when 17th seed Maria Sakkari of Greece bested the woman from Poland 6-4, 6-4. For Sakkari, it will be her first trip to a major semifinal. It’s also the first final four for a Greek woman at a major.
“I still have to play, stay focused,” said Sakkari. “But it’s a big achievement, for sure.”
Sakkari will be facing unseeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, who stopped the run of 17-year-old American Coco Gauff 7-6 (6), 6-3 in the quarterfinal played earlier. Gauff had five sets points in the first set and could not convert any of them.
Sakkari has an 0-2 record against the Czech.
Krejcikova a former top ranked doubles player in 2018, does not want to labeled as a doubles specialist, as she told media: “Everybody just put a label on me. But we (with Katerina Siniakova) won our first two Grand Slams when I was 22. I felt like I don’t want to be a doubles specialist when I was 22. I want to play singles. I want to work hard, improve my game. I want to play the top players actually in singles.”
The other women’s semifinal, set for Thursday will be No. 31 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova against unseeded Tamara Zidansek. All four women in the semis are making their first final four appearances at a major tournament.
Thirteen-time French Open Rafael Nadal reached his 14th Paris semifinal, but dropped his first set of the tournament when he beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0. The Spaniard had his consecutive sets won streak at Roland Garros, clipped at 36.
“I won an important match today against a tough opponent,” Nadal said. “I was able to find a way to play my best tennis in the moments that I really needed to.”
Nadal will be facing top seed Novak Djokovic in his semifinal. Djokovic subdued Italy’s Mateo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 in Wednesday’s evening session. The Serb is seeking his second French Open along with his 19th major title, which would put him one behind Nadal and Roger Federer.
Ahead of his 58th match against Nadal Djokovic said to media:”I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let’s have a great battle.”