French Open: Tamara Zidansek reaches SF; makes history for self and Slovenia

Tamara Zidansek outlasted Paula Badosa in their quarter-final clash at the French Open on Tuesday. The Slovenian took two hours and 26 minutes to claim a 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 victory, in a match that swung equally between the two players.

In the opening set, the 33rd-seeded Spaniard surged ahead with a 3-0, double-break lead over the world no. 85 who looked to be caught up with the momentousness of the occasion. However, Zidansek made a strong comeback to wrench both breaks back. One more exchange of break extended the set before both players held their serves for a protracted duration. In the 12th game, trying to stay in the set, Badosa was broken for the fourth time in the set giving Zidansek the lead in the match.

French Open: Tamara Zidansek marks new ground

Both players held their own to start the second set but momentum shifts became the norm as both players traded breaks as in the opening set. However, unlike in the first set, this time it was Badosa who arrested the momentum shift to claim the third break of the set in the ninth game and then serve it out to level the match in the 10th game.

The third set was a nerve-biter even as both players broke and regained the service breaks in its initial moments. In the 13th game of the set, Badosa had three break points to serve for the match but gutsy play from the unseeded Slovenian dashed her hopes. That game turned around the momentum of the match for one last time as Badosa, perhaps unsettled by her inability to make good of the break point chances she had, faced two match points. While an unforced error from Zidansek allowed play to continue, a winner off the Slovenian’s racquet on the second match point put paid any hopes Badosa might have harboured about prolonging the match.

Zidansek hit 48 winners, while Badosa had almost as many unforced errors (47). Likewise, while Zidansek hit 39 unforced errors, Badosa had 31 winners for the match.

Following this result, the 23-year-old Tamara Zidansek has become the first player from her country to reach the semi-final of a Major. She will now play either 21st seed Elena Rybakina or 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the French Open final.