The women’s semi-finals in Paris are set, but not without some late drama and an on-camera mistake from the world No. 1.
Roland Garros: Rafael Nadal once again proved his superiority on clay, outlasting world number 1 Novak Djokovic in a four-hour epic to advance to the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
Kasatkina earned a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) victory over fellow Russian Veronika Kudermetova and will face world number one Iga Swiatek on Thursday for a place in Saturday’s championship match.
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“Rafa was my idol since I was a child. When I was little, I tried to copy his game,” said the 25-year-old.
“It’s so obvious that he may be the best fighter in the history of the sport. You can have the best backhand, forehand, serve, forever, but if you can’t fight, you can’t win. So I think the fighting spirit is the most important.
Nadal’s four-set victory over defending champion Djokovic in a match that ended at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday proved to be a roller coaster ride for the Russian.
Kasatkina, who was playing in her third career Slam quarter-final but the first since 2018, reached the semi-finals without losing a set.
Kudermetova was in her first quarterfinal at the majors and the tension was evident as she made 50 unforced errors and had to save 12 of 17 break points.
Kudermetova, 25, needed a medical timeout at 5-6 in the second set to deal with a foot problem and fended off four match points in the tiebreak. It was the second time in as many matches that she requested medical assistance to resolve the issue, but some objected to the timing of the request – as Kasatkina was preparing to serve for the match.
New York Times Tennis writer Christopher Clarey tweeted: “Basically, unless you need emergency medical assistance, you should not be allowed to take a medical timeout before your opponent serves to stay in a set or win a set.
“Tennis is a game of rhythm and routines. A non-emergency medical timeout is, tactical or not, a significant break in your opponent’s rhythm and routine. Not cool. Unsportsmanlike.
Kasatkina, however, secured victory on her fifth match point with a well-timed backhand shot.
Meanwhile, Swiatek advanced to the semi-finals with a comfortable win over American Jessica Pegula that extended the world number one’s winning streak to 33 matches.
The Polish star cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a final four with Kasatkina.
Swiatek will equal Venus Williams’ record for longest unbeaten streak for a 21st century player if she wins a second Roland Garros title this week.
But she said she always felt nervous before big matches, even if she appeared in almost unbeatable form.
“I am (I feel nervous),” Swiatek said. “If I stop feeling nervous, something weird will happen…
“Sometimes stress is a positive thing because it makes you tenser and more active. »
The top seed, who turned 21 on Tuesday, won his only Grand Slam title so far in Paris two years ago.
She has won five consecutive tournaments this year, including four WTA 1,000 titles.
Although she wasn’t at her best, Swiatek still scored 30 winners in an ultimately one-sided match.
Pegula, the 11th seed, has also had a good season, but is still waiting to reach a first major semi-final after also losing in the round of 16 at the previous two Australian Opens.
Another dominant display from the Pole looked likely when Swiatek broke in the first game, then led 40-0 in the second.
But Pegula scored five straight points to turn back the clock and signal that the world’s best player may not have everything her way.
Swiatek played an excellent return game to take a 4-3 lead, before closing out the first set by completing a series of four successive games as Pegula struck wide.
She saved a break point early in the second set before taking a 3-1 lead herself with a backhand winner down the line.
Pegula managed to save three match points in the eighth game as she attempted to make Swiatek serve the match, but the former champion sealed the victory with another perfectly placed backhand.