PARIS • Petra Kvitova returned to the French Open semi-finals for the first time in eight years yesterday after defeating Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3, describing Roland Garros as her “lucky place”.
Czech seventh seed Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, will face Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin today for a place in the final on Saturday.
“It means a lot to be back in the semi-finals,” said 30-year-old Kvitova, who was beaten by eventual champion Maria Sharapova when she made the same stage in 2012.
“After my last match, I was very emotional to be in the quarter-finals. Now I am in the semis. I never imagined this would happen after everything that has happened.
“This is my lucky place.”
It was Paris where Kvitova made her comeback in 2017 after spending six months recovering from a terrifying knife attack at her home in December 2016.
The frenzied assault required a four-hour operation and left her with damaged ligaments in her playing hand. Doctors warned her that her career might be finished.
Yesterday, she fired 22 winners and six aces past 32-year-old Siegemund, the world No. 66 who was playing in the quarter-finals of a Slam for the first time.
One break of serve in the opener was enough for Kvitova while five more breaks followed in the second set. The world No. 11, who has yet to drop a set at this tournament, claimed victory when Siegemund committed her third double fault.
“I am happy to be here and to be able to compete with the best especially in these conditions – roof open, roof closed, sunshine, windy,” Kvitova added.
In the later match, Kenin moved two wins from a second Grand Slam title of the year when she defeated American compatriot Danielle Collins to reach the semi-finals. The 21-year-old fourth seed prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
Collins required treatment on an abdomen injury at 4-0 down in the decider, a condition not helped by her high-pitched screams of “come on” which became progressively louder as the tie went on.
The other semi-final sees Polish 19-year-old Iga Swiatek tackle Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska, the world No. 131 who is bidding to become the first qualifier to reach the final of a Grand Slam.
In the men’s draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his second Grand Slam semi-final yesterday with a straight-set win over Andrey Rublev to set up a meeting against either world No. 1 Novak Djokovic or Pablo Carreno Busta.
The Greek fifth seed avenged last month’s loss to Rublev in the Hamburg final by defeating the Russian 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 to match his breakout run at the Australian Open last year.
The other semi-final will see Diego Schwartzman facing 12-time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain, whom he beat in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open last month.
The 12th seeded Argentinian had on Tuesday downed a tired Dominic Thiem in an epic 7-6 (7-1), 5-7, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win in the quarter-finals.
Thiem, a finalist at Roland Garros in the last two years, had won his previous 11 Slam matches following his US Open victory last month.
“I was over the limit today,” said the Austrian third seed who had come through another five-setter to knock out French wild card Hugo Gaston in the previous round.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Semi-finals: Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 8.30pm.