Seedless Tamara Zidansek advances to semi-finals at French Open

Paris — Prior to the French Open, Tamara Zidansek never exceeded the second round in any Grand Slam.

The former snowboarder became the first woman in Slovenia to advance to the semifinals in a major tournament.

Inspired by the cheers of the Court Philippe-Chatrie coach team, 85th-placed Zidansek defeated Spanish rival Paula Badosa 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 in the clay court tournament on Tuesday.

The French Open is the only Grand Slam where no tiebreakers are played in the final set. Wimbledon recently set up a tiebreaker 12 to 12 in the final set.

After splitting the first two sets and after Zidansek maintained a 6-5 lead in the third set, Badsa took turns throwing a racket violently. She regained her composure, but Zidansek saved three break points to take the lead 7-6, diverting her second match point with a big forehand in the next game.

Slovenia’s three-time national junior snowboard champion Zidansek will face Elena Rybakina or Anastasia Pavruchenkova in the final at Roland Garros.

    Paula Badosa
Paula Badosa of Spain will serve Tamara Zidansek, Slovenia, in the quarterfinals of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris on June 8, 2021. (Christophe Ena / AP Photo)
    Tamara Zidansek French Open
Tamara Zidansek, Slovenia, will serve Paula Badosa in Spain in the quarterfinals of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris on June 8, 2021. (Christophe EnaAP Photo)

In perfect weather conditions, both players won a brilliant winner, but also experienced many unforced errors.

Badsa put pressure from the beginning with a fierce ground stroke from the baseline. This strategy worked when Zidansek led 3-0 after dropping his first service game. But Badosa’s mistake-filled game gave her rivals a break and a boost.

Zidansek’s return improved, he scored a shot and combined his bold moves on the net with his attacks to score a 3 to 3. Badsa saved set points in a forehand attack in 12 games, but a poor drop shot fell to the net and couldn’t dodge the second game.

Badsa led 4-2 in the second set after a series of unforced errors, but Zidansek was unable to gain momentum and struggled to serve.

The Spaniard recovered, made a decisive break in Game 9 and closed the set with a big forehand.

The 23-year-old Zidansek upset 7-seed Bianca Andreesque in the first round of this year’s tournament, winning his first career victory over the top ten players. In that match, both the second and third sets lost by two points from the loss.

Zidansek reached 56th place in career high in June 2019.

Samuel Petrekin

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