Well then… we are confirmed a new Slam champion as the four remaining players at the 2021 French Open are all first-time Slam semi-finalists! I knew there would be upsets. I knew there would be draw carnage. It’s the French Open. I’m still surprised 😂. It will be a fascinating conclusion to the tournament to see who snaps up this wondrous opportunity. Read on for Wednesday’s diary from Paris.
Day 1️⃣1️⃣ Highlights
(17) Maria Sakkari d. (8) Iga Swiatek, 6-4 6-4
Maria Sakkari completed the clean sweep of first time Slam semi-finalists as she stunned the overwhelming tournament favourite, Iga Swiatek, in straight sets.
It was a scrappy start to the match and perhaps looking back, a pre-cursor to what would unfold. After an early exchange of breaks, Sakkari broke at *4-4 and served out in style, holding her own in a couple of lengthy exchanges. Swiatek’s forehand had an off day and Sakkari did a great job with her tactics at exposing that wing. It became apparent in the second set that Swiatek was dealing with an injury as she took an off-court medical time-out for an upper leg injury. It kind of all added up as Swiatek looked uncomfortable moving out wide on that side.
MTOs have created a few stories this year and I was nervous for Sakkari during the delay and I was only watching! I thought Sakkari’s focus was exemplary and she rode her break home with some exceptional serving. In that second set, Sakkari lost just FOUR points on serve. I’ve been banging on about Sakkari’s serve all year and it’s so nice to see it hold up as a weapon when she really needed it. Jeepers it’s been a rough, rough tournament for so many of the top players with injuries. I’m happy for Sakkari who is now the highest ranked player going forward! That’s going to be a challenge to handle for the next few days…
Barbora Krejcikova d. (24) Coco Gauff, 7-6(6) 6-3
Gauff and Krejcikova collided with their nine match winning streaks in the first match of the day. It was Krejcikova who kept hers alive, winning her 10th consecutive match.
This was a nervy affair. Highly entertaining though and some nice rallies. I enjoy watching both players strike a tennis ball. Krejcikova saved five set points to win the 70-minute opener on the tiebreak. Krejcikova looked nervous at the start and continually battled with her ball toss. You could feel the tension. Yet somehow Krejcikova conjured up some inspired tennis in the pressure moments. An error-filled tiebreak was gobbled up by Krejcikova who hit three superb forehand winners to claim the set.
Krejcikova raced into a lead in the second set and then things got tense again. Five match points disappeared. 5-0 became 5-3. It was hide-behind-the-sofa time for Krejcikova’s service game at *5-3. In classic Krejcikova style, she served it out to love! Remarkable effort. I was a little surprised how Gauff went away after the first set. It was clearly a crusher having had all those set points and been in the ascendancy for most of it.
Super stat 🔢
Best point 🎾
Set point in the first set. Terrific from Sakkari.
Favourite snap 📸
Where my head’s at right now…
Recommended media 📺
Day 12 watchlist 📺
(17) Maria Sakkari vs. Barbora Krejcikova
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Tamara Zidansek