French Open: Kasatkina ready to scale new heights in Swiatek battle

By Sports Desk June 01, 2022

Daria Kasatkina aims to climb another "mountain" when she faces Iga Swiatek in her first grand slam semi-final at the French Open.

Kasatkina won an all-Russian showdown with Veronika Kudermetova on Court Philippe-Chatrier 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to break new ground at a major on Wednesday.

The 20th seed had lost her previous two grand slam quarter-finals in 2018, but she was not denied on this occasion in Paris.

Kasatkina will do battle with Swiatek for a place in the Roland Garros final on Thursday after the world number one beat Jessica Pegula in straight sets.

Top seed Swiatek has beaten Kasatkina twice in hard-court events this year and the Pole is on an astonishing 33-match winning run.

Yet Kasatkina has not dropped a set at the French Open and the 25-year-old is relishing the challenge of playing the biggest match of her career.

She said: "We played a few times this year. Okay, I lost those matches, but it was a different story. It was a hard court, beginning of the year, I was not in the same shape as I am now.

"I cannot compare what we are going to have tomorrow and what we had in February, March when we were playing. It's going to be completely different match. I want to win a lot, she wants to win as well, and it's going to be a good match.

"You never know what's going to happen in the semi-final of a grand slam, so it's going to be fun and that's it."

Kasatkina will savour her best performance at a major, but is hungry for more.

"I have no time to relax, I'm playing already tomorrow. So a little bit of time to enjoy it, because still it's special for me, a first semi-final," she added.

"But I know that tomorrow is another mountain in front of me which I have to climb and that's it. Maybe it's even better that I don't have much time to think about how good it is to be in the semi-finals, so I have another battle."

As she prepares to face the all-conquering tournament favourite, Kasatkina does not believe she has ever been in better shape.

She said: "Mentally and physically I feel the best I ever was, which is good, because it means that I'm improving. But I don't feel safe, because when you're in the comfort zone it means there's something wrong.

"I think it's better to feel something behind you, so you don't relax much. I think I'm always ready, you have to be always be ready.

"It doesn't have to be like, 'Oh, I'm so bad, and what do I have to do now?' But if you are ready and you know how to get out of this, this is also what I learn."

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