Zverev into maiden Open semi-final; Pavlyuchenvkova, Zidansek advance

Paris: Alexander Zverev settled some early nerves before beating Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) to reach the French Open semi-finals for the first time.

After his frustration wore off following an early argument with chair umpire Alison Hughes over a line call, Zverev clicked into gear while an increasingly despondent Fokina wavered.

Alexander Zverev has now made the last four in three of his last five major campaigns.Credit:Getty

Zverev came back from two sets down in his first-round match, but since then the German has been steamrolling his opponents and is hungry for more.

“Obviously it’s very nice to be in the semi-finals but that doesn’t satisfy me. I’ve been playing better and better and now we’ll see what happens next,” he said.

Meanwhile, don’t get Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wrong. Of course she’s happy to finally make it to her first major semi at age 29 after going 0-6 in major singles quarter-finals — and 0-5 in doubles quarter-finals — until now.

Just understand that she is not satisfied with how far she has made it so far.

Tamara Zidansek celebrates her place in the French Open semi-finals, a result which dwarves her previous best return at a major – reaching the second round in Melbourne (2019 and 2020) and at Wimbledon in 2019.Credit:AP

“Still matches to go through,” she said. “Still work to be done.”

The 31st-seeded Pavlyuchenkova will make her debut in the final four of a slam in her 52nd appearance after edging her doubles partner, Elena Rybakina, 6-7 (7-2), 6-2, 9-7 on Tuesday.

The whole thing took more than two-and-a-half hours, and Pavlyuchenkova needed to recover from a fall early in the second set that left her back caked with clay and then overcome being a break down in the third.

“Unreal match,” said Pavlyuchenkova, who credits coaching help from her brother and working with a sports psychologist with helping her on-court progress of late.

Wednesday (AEST) schedule of play

Women’s singles, quarter-finals:

  • Coco Gauff (24, US) v Barbora Krejcikova (CZE), 7pm
  • Maria Sakkari (17, GRE) v Iga Swiatek (8, POL), 8.15pm

Men’s singles quarter-finals

  • Rafael Nadal (3, ESP) v Diego Schwartzman (10, ARG), 9.30pm
  • Novak Djokovic (1, SRB) v Matteo Berrettini (9, ITA), 4am Thursday

On Thursday, she will face another first-time major semi-finalist: 85th-ranked Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia.

Zidansek also needed the tennis equivalent of overtime to get through the quarter-finals — the French Open is the only grand slam event that doesn’t use final-set tie-breakers in singles — eliminating No. 33 seed Paula Badosa 7-5, 4-6, 8-6.

“It feels overwhelming,” said Zidansek, a junior national champion as a snowboarder.

She called her first-round victory over 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu “a big breakthrough for me; I got a lot of confidence from that.”

Rybakina, who was seeded 21st, had eliminated 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.


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