Zidansek Continues Dream Run At Roland Garros

Tamara Zidansek (photo: Tennis Slovenija)


World No. 85 Tamara Zidansek became the first player representing Slovenia to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The 23-year-old fought past Paula Badosa of Spain 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 on Tuesday afternoon at Roland Garros.

In sunny conditions on Court Philippe-Chatrier, Zidansek won 81 per cent of her first-service points and broke her opponent eight times to seal victory in two hours and 26 minutes.

“It feels overwhelming,” she said afterwards. “It’s hard to take it in like this fast. Speaking about nerves today […] it was a great opportunity for the both of us to get into the semifinals, but I guess I managed to keep my composure today a little bit better than her.”

Asked about her expectations before coming to Paris, Zidansek responded: “Winning the first round was a big breakthrough for me. I got a lot of confidence from that. I mean, before the tournament I was feeling really good. I was playing good, especially on clay. Had some good matches. When it started to click? I don’t know. I just kept going match by match. Every day is a chapter for itself, you know. I’m just gonna keep doing that and hope for the best.”

Zidansek, who was a champion snowboarder as a child, beat 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the opening round, before going from strength to strength on clay in Paris. The Postojna native clinched two titles on the WTA $125,000 Series at the Bol Open in Croatia in 2018 and 2019 as well as 17 trophies on the ITF Pro Circuit and had never previously been beyond the second round at a Grand Slam.

Pavlyuchenkova into first semi-final at Roland Garros

Zidansek will next take on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. The No. 31 seed also had to go the distance against No. 21 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, rallying 6-7(2), 6-2, 9-7 after two hours and 33 minutes.

“I actually have always wanted to be in the semifinals so much before that I think I have achieved it now and I’m sort of, like, [having a] neutral reaction,” Pavlyuchenkova said.

“Of course I’m happy, but I feel like I’m doing my work, I’m doing my job, and there is still matches to go through, still work to be done. I just look at this like that. I’m trying to enjoy this moment as much as I can but not giving so much importance as well right now. Take in the present and enjoy this moment now and then see.

“I’m a bit out of emotions right now. I guess I need a little bit more time. Probably later tonight I’ll realize that. I’m very happy with the win. It was unreal match today.”

Ten years after reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, Pavlyuchenkova made it through to the last four for the first time at Roland Garros.

Zverev eases past Davidovich Fokina

Later in the day, Alexander Zverev advanced to his third semi-final at a major. The 24-year-old German defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. Zverev capitalized on nine of his 15 break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 36 minutes.

“After the first set, my baseline game improved a lot and I started to dominate the points,” said Zverev in an on-court interview. “At the beginning, I don’t think I played that well. He has improved a lot over the past 18 months and has climbed up the Rankings. I think I will play him a lot in the future.”

Up next for the No. 6 seed will be either second favourite Daniil Medvedev of Russia or No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece.

“It’s very nice being in the semi-final, but just being here doesn’t satisfy me,” said Zverev. “I hope I can continue to play the same, maybe even better in the semi-finals.”