Before this French Open Nadia Podoroska’s best showing in a grand slam tournament was a first round loss at the US Open in 2016. The challenge of defeating Iga Swiatek, who has not lost lost more than five games in a match at Roland Garros this year was always a tall order.
Rampant Swiatek Blazes Past Podoroska for Place in First Slam Final
Even without a full stadium, the weight of the occasion was heavy on the shoulders of both women as they walked on court. Neither had come close to going this deep at a major tournament before. With one match between either of them and a slam final nerves would be unsurprising.
Swiatek, however, displayed no signs of tension or concern. She came out playing the clean, hard-hitting tennis that was too much for top-seeded Simona Halep in the fourth round. With little trouble on her own service games, Swiatek went on the attack regularly on Podoroska’s serve and quickly took a commanding lead breaking the Podoroska serve yet again to win the set 6-2.
Swiatek showed no signs of letting up at the start of the second set. She broke serve early and with a flurry of short aggressive points quickly took a 4-0 lead. With Swiatek serving for a 5-0 lead, Podoroska finally began to read the Pole’s serve and crafted four break points before finally converting.
Swiatek broke again in the following game and served out the match, winning the second set comfortably, 6-1. During many points throughout the match, Swiatek moved forward after almost every stroke, closing down the court, creating severe angles and continually pushing Podoroska to find a way around her.
Podoroska, for her part, may have lost heavily, but becoming the first woman to come through qualifying to a French Open semifinal remains a stunning achievement. Swiatek goes on to face either reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin or two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.