Andreeva upsets Sabalenka to reach maiden grand slam semi-final

By Sports Desk June 05, 2024

Mirra Andreeva upset ailing world number two Aryna Sabalenka in three sets on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the French Open.

Sabalenka was bidding to reach the final four of a grand slam for a ninth time, but instead Andreeva recovered from behind 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 to reach her maiden major semi.

The 17-year-old Russian will now face Jasmine Paolini, who stunned Elena Rybakina 6-2 4-6 6-4 earlier in the day in Paris to also reach her first grand slam semi-final.

After a tense and tight opening set in which the serve was lost in four of the first five games, Sabalenka ultimately stood firm to prevail in the tie-break.

The second set followed a similar pattern as Andreeva and then Sabalenka lost serve in the opening two games, but it was the teenager who this time managed to find her footing.

Sabalenka, who was struggling with an injury throughout, did herself manage to instantly hit back after losing serve in the sixth game, only for Andreeva to break in the 10th.

That ensured the match went the distance, much to the delight of the crowd, and it was the underdog who showed nerves of steel to eliminate the much-fancied Sabalenka.

A deep backhand return from Sabalenka brought up three break points, which the Belarusian took at the first attempt to make it 3-2, but that proved a false dawn.

Andreeva broke back in the sixth, roaring with delight in doing so, and held until the 10th game when sending a backhand winner down the line for match point.

Data Debrief: Age just a number for amazing Andreeva

Andreeva, aged 17 years and 37 days, is the youngest women's singles grand slam semi-finalist since Martina Hingis in 1997 at the US Open, and the youngest at the French Open since Hingis the same year.

The Russian is also the youngest to defeat a top-two opponent in a women's singles grand slam since Jelena Dokic against Hingis at Wimbledon in 1999, and the youngest in this tournament since Monica Seles against Steffi Graf in 1990.

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