Defending women’s singles French Open champion Iga Swiatek was knocked out of the tournament after a 4-6, 4-6 loss to 17th seed Maria Sakkari of Greece in the quarter-finals. This is Sakkari’s first Grand Slam semi-final and it has come off a win against the favourite. Swiatek was not only the defending champion but was expected to win the tournament being the only Top 10 seed left in the draw. Sakkari played a very solid game throughout the match and didn’t get bogged down by the occasion at all.
Sakkari’s semi-final will be against Barbora Krejcikova, who earlier defeated 17-year-old Coco Gauff 7-6(6), 6-3.
After the win, Sakkari thanked her team and said that ahead of the game, she only told herself to enjoy the match and not focus on the occasion.
“I am speechless. It is a dream coming true. I don’t know, it’s a very nice feeling, I couldn’t have done it with my team and their support. We made it huge definitely.
“I’m not going to tell you the game plan, I won’t tell my little secret. But I enjoyed myself today and I told myself ‘it is a very important match but just enjoy it’ and I had to enjoy myself," she said in the on-court interview.
For only the second time in the Open era, there are four first-time Grand Slam semi-finalists in women’s singles, after the 1978 Australian Open.
Furthermore, for just the fifth time in Roland Garros history, a player seeded outside the top 10 will lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen on Saturday.
Sakkari is the second Greek in the semi-finals of the singles at this year’s French Open after Stefanos Tsitsipas made the men’s last four on Tuesday.
Swiatek had carved a break for 2-0 in the first set before the Greek quickly levelled, breaking again for a 5-4 lead.
Sakkari confidently pocketed the opener, ending the champion’s run of 22 straight sets won at the tournament.
When Swiatek slipped 0-2 down in the second set, the Pole left the court for a medical timeout, returning with her right thigh tightly strapped.
Swiatek had to battle to avoid going a double break down in the fifth game but eventually succumbed in the 10th.
Sakkari reaped the reward for her all-out attacking game with five aces and 26 winners.