Highlights French Open 2020 – Finalists and more

Swiatek powers past Podoroska to reach first Grand Slam final

Polish teenager Iga Swiatek became the youngest player to reach the French Open women’s final in 19 years, continuing her bulldozing run at Roland Garros with a 6-2 6-1 dismantling of Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska on Thursday.

The 19-year-old will play Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Saturday in her first Grand Slam final.

World number 131 Podoroska, who was looking to become the first qualifier to reach a major final in men’s or women’s singles, had no answer to Swiatek’s powerful groundstrokes and sleek movement.

Swiatek had broken serve 27 times en route to the last four and added five more to that count before finishing off the one-sided contest on Court Philippe Chatrier in 69 minutes.

“I’m kind of surprised, really. I always knew that if I would be in a Grand Slam final, it would be at the French Open,” Swiatek said on court after becoming the first Polish woman to reach the Roland Garros final in 81 years and the first at any major since Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon eight years ago.

“I wanted to play this match as a first-round match, I didn’t want to think of it as a semi-final otherwise I would have been too stressed. I just wanted to be aggressive like previous matches. I’m feeling good and like nothing hurts me.”

Swiatek, the youngest player to reach the women’s final at Roland Garros since Kim Clijsters in 2001, looked to impose herself on the match early and jumped to a 3-0 lead.

She managed to hit through the court well, both off the forehand and backhand, and painted the red clay with winners, amassing 23 during another typical performance at a tournament in which she also snapped top seed Simona Halep’s 17-match winning run.

“Usually, I’m that kind of player who is playing better under pressure,” Swiatek told reporters. “If I’m not going to choke up, I think everything will be fine.

“But there’s a reason why I was so efficient. Really I’m staying super focused. I’m not letting my opponents to play their best tennis. So I hope I’m going to do that on Saturday.”

Unable to put up much resistance, Podoroska decided to show more aggression and started coming forward to cut down the time for Swiatek to hit her big shots.

That helped her hold two service games but was not enough to derail Swiatek, who faced just a single breakpoint in the opening set.

Podoroska, who earned more than she had in her entire career by reaching the semi-finals, would have hoped for the tide to turn in the second set but there was no respite.

Swiatek, who also plays in a doubles semi-final on Friday, kept up the tempo and raced to a 4-0 lead before nervous errors allowed Podoroska to avoid a second-set bagel with a break of serve.

The Pole, who has lost only 23 games in six matches, broke back immediately, however, and ended Podoroska’s ordeal on the first match point with an unreturned serve.

Kenin solves claycourt puzzle as French title looms into view

When Sofia Kenin was double-bageled three weeks ago by Victoria Azarenka in her only claycourt match in the build-up to the French Open her prospects looked as gloomy as the weather at Roland Garros this past fortnight.

When Sofia Kenin was double-bageled three weeks ago by Victoria Azarenka in her only claycourt match in the build-up to the French Open her prospects looked as gloomy as the weather at Roland Garros this past fortnight.

That 6-0 6-0 defeat in Rome simply gave the 21-year-old American another problem to solve though — something she does better than most on a tennis court.

On Thursday, against big-hitting Czech Petra Kvitova who she had never beaten, Kenin showed incredible control in a gusting wind to claim a 6-4 7-5 victory and reach the French Open final.

“Definitely, I’m a problem solver. You obviously have to expect tough situations. It’s a tennis match. You know your opponent wants to win. They want to find your weakness. Of course, you got to be smart,” Kenin, who won this year’s Australian Open, told reporters.

“I obviously like it not to get too crazy with the scoreline and everything. I prefer to be going easy, but obviously cannot expect that in a semi-final. I’m not going to have a 6-0 6-0 win, especially against Petra.”

Kenin absorbed everything Kvitova threw at her in a performance of real maturity on a surface she admits has been a bit of a puzzle.

“In juniors, clay was not my strongest surface. I felt underpowered. I couldn’t control the points. I didn’t have great movement. It was a bit of a struggle,” the fourth seed said.

“I did not have the best result in Rome and I could feel clay was not there for me. But I knew that it just takes a few matches to get a nice groove in. I know how to adjust to the surface. So I’m loving the clay.”

Fellow American Chris Evert, a seven-times French Open champion, told Eurosport she has seen few players match the hunger and intensity of Kenin who was a bundle of energy against Kvitova.

Kenin, who describes herself as feisty, now just has one more problem to solve when she takes on 19-year-old Pole Iga Swiatek, who has dropped only 23 games, in Saturday’s final.

Their only other match was in the French Open juniors third round in 2016 when Swiatek won in straight sets.

“I have to figure out what she does,” Kenin said. “I’m sure she has a lot of confidence and is super excited for the final.

“I obviously want to make the next step. Really would love to take the title. We’ll see how it’s going to go on Saturday.”

Holders Krawietz and Mies reach men’s doubles final

Defending champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies reached the French Open men’s doubles final as the German duo beat Dutch/Croatian team Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic on Thursday.

A 6-3 7-5 win for the eighth seeds set up a showdown against seventh seeds Mate Pavic (Croatia) and Bruno Soares (Brazil), who had earlier beaten Colombian top seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal 7-6(4) 7-5.

Pavic and Suarez are looking to win back-to-back Slam titles after beating Koolhof and Mektic in the U.S. Open final.

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