Tennis: Nadia Podoroska makes history as the first qualifier to reach French Open semis

Tennis: Nadia Podoroska makes history as the first qualifier to reach French Open semis

PARIS (AFP) – Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska became the first qualifier in the Open era on Tuesday (Oct 6) to reach the women’s semi-finals at Roland Garros after stunning third seed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4.

World number 131 Podoroska had never won a Grand Slam main draw match before the tournament and is the first Argentine woman to reach the last four of a major since Paola Suarez in Paris in 2004.

The 23-year-old Podoroska will play Polish teenager Iga Swiatek or Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan for a place in Saturday’s final.

“It’s a little bit difficult for me to speak now after the match,” said Podoroska, whose only other Grand Slam appearance came at the 2016 US Open.

“We did a very good job with my coaches during the (coronavirus) quarantine. I’ve been training a lot with all of my team I think that’s why I’m here today.”

It was the first time Podoroska had even faced a player inside the top 20, having started the year ranked a lowly 255th.

Svitolina suffered a third quarter-final defeat in as many attempts at Roland Garros, having also lost at this stage in 2015 and 2017.

The Ukrainian hit just eight winners – the same number of times she dropped serve – as she slumped to her worst defeat at a major in terms of her opponent’s ranking.