Tuesday was another wet day in Paris with the first pair of women’s quarter-finals severely interrupted by the weather. Eventually the rain abated for the matches to finish and we now know the first two semi-finalists… Timea Bacsinszky and Jelena Ostapenko! While I wouldn’t have been surprised at any of the four quarter-finalists winning today, it hasn’t quite sunk in that Bacsinszky and Ostapenko will be playing on Thursday for a place in the final of Roland Garros.
Bacsinszky beat a rather subdued, Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4 6-4. I watched the first few games of the match during my lunch break and the conditions were terrible. We had dreadful weather in the UK as well today. The wind was ridiculous and it brought back memories of Eastbourne. Bacsinszky seemed to be dealing with the conditions better early on. In the end, a trio of two game stints saw Bacsinszky grab the opener, breaking Mladenovic’s serve at 4-4 in a six deuce game.
The rain first came with Bacsinszky holding a break point on Mladenovic’s serve at 6-4 1-1 40-30*. On the resumption, Mladenovic looked fired up and had the crowd support – she held, then broke and had the ascendancy in her next service game. The Frenchwoman couldn’t keep it up though as a resurgent Bacsinszky found her game again and won 11 of the next 13 points before the next rain interruption. Mladenovic appeared to be sobbing before they went off court.
On the next resumption, Bacsinszky found herself serving for the match at *5-4 – she saved a break point and converted on her first match point to reach a second Slam semi-final in Paris in the last three years. Huge props to Timea who didn’t back off at the end and went for her shots. I was surprised how passive Mladenovic was from the middle of the second set.
It’s not been an easy year for Bacsinszky who has battled injuries – an abdominal injury forced her out of Shenzhen and Sydney at the very start of the year. She then had a left thigh issue at Fed Cup, which forced her to retire against Yulia Putintseva in Doha. Then just as she was building momentum in Miami, Bacsinszky retired during her fourth round match against Karolina Pliskova with a worrying wrist injury. Her clay court season had been solid and there were some encouraging signs in Rome that she was rounding into form.
I’m absolutely thrilled for Timea. She’s been my second favourite player behind Lucie for a while now (after Eastbourne 😉). I love her fighting spirit on the court and her backhand gives me life! 😍😍😍
In the second semi-final, Ostapenko delivered another sensational display to defeat Caroline Wozniacki, 4-6 6-2 6-2. It feels a long time ago now but Wozniacki was up 5-0 in the first set! The conditions were tough early on but as the wind died down, Ostapenko’s crunching groundstrokes had more and more of an impact.
I was surprised how quickly the third set went once Ostapenko got the break at 2-2. Wozniacki had no answers and looked a tad overwhelmed as Ostapenko piled on the winners. Serving for the match and a first ever Slam semi-final, Ostapenko produced an emphatic service hold to love. My face during that final game 😮. We’ve seen Ostapenko get tight before but she was on a mission today.
Ostapenko now holds a 4-0 head-to-head record against Wozniacki and has hit a whopping 148 winners in their three matches this year. She hit 38 against Wozniacki today (to 50 unforced errors) which was her lowest total of their three matches in 2017.
This is an awesome fun fact that both players share a birthday… Ostapenko will be 20 and Bacsinszky will be 28 on Thursday.
Bacsinszky and Ostapenko have never met before on the WTA tour but now they’ll go up against each other for a place in a first Slam final. I’m very excited about this match-up!
The second pair of quarter-finals are on Wednesday’s schedule – a pair of snap previews are up on the blog for Halep vs. Svitolina and Pliskova vs. Garcia.
The doubles quarter-finals will also be played on Wednesday and it’s a decent line-up.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova (1) vs. Francesca Schiavone and Kirsten Flipkens
Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis (3) vs. Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk
Irina-Camelia Begu and Zheng Saisai vs. Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua
Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina (6) vs. Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova (2)
And finally, Eurosport have released a survey for their French Open coverage. More details on the survey are provided in the post below. By entering a valid e-mail address at the end of the survey, there are prizes up for grabs! Enter at the link HERE.