Nadia Podoroska continues to surprise while making history at Roland Garros…
The 23-year-old Argentine tennis player knocked out Elina Svitolina, the French Open‘s third seed on Tuesday, becoming the first qualifier to reach the women’s semifinals at the French tournament in the Open era.
Podoroska threw her racket in the air, tilted her head back and pumped both fists after stopping Svitolina from reaching a third semifinal in her past four Grand Slam tournaments.
Ranked 131st in the world, Podoroska had never won a main draw Grand Slam match before last week, and she could hardly believe it when she won 6-2, 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Podoroska is only the third female qualifier to get to the semifinals at any major tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968, and the first since Alexandra Stevenson at Wimbledon in 1999.
Afterward, she was asked whether she was pinching herself to make sure it wasn’t all just a dream.
“No,” Podoroska replied. “I don’t want to wake up.”
Serving at 5-4 down, Svitolina saved two match points, the second with an audacious slice at the net to end a 27-shot rally.
But on the third match point, Podoroska hit a crisp forehand winner and then chucked her racket up toward the blue sky.
Podoroska, who is from the same city in Argentina as soccer superstar Lionel Messi, said she considered quitting tennis altogether a couple of years ago after “too many injuries,” including to her right wrist.
She was off the tour for eight months; her ranking dropped; she didn’t have enough money to travel to tournaments; she split with a coach she’d been working with for a decade.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Podoroska said.
She stuck with it, though, and now has a new team around her, based in Spain. And, by far, the best results of her career.
Svitolina, though, blamed herself for this outcome.
“Lots of things were not going my way,” Svitolina said. “I was not 100 percent mentally on it today, and that was really disappointing.”
In the semifinals, Podoroska will face unseeded 19-year-old Iga Swiatek.