Iga Swiatek said she drew inspiration from US Open winner Naomi Osaka after sweeping into the semi-finals of the French Open on Tuesday by ending the run of Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan.
The Polish teenager followed up her emphatic win over top seed Simona Halep by defeating Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 to set up a meeting with Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska.
“I just knew that I’m not going to play as perfect as with Simona. On my level, it’s impossible to keep that level of consistency,” said Swiatek, who broke the 159th-ranked Trevisan six times.
“I just stayed, like, really down-to-earth and really positive. I did that pretty well.”
World number 131 Podoroska, who had never won a Grand Slam main draw match before the tournament, became the first qualifier in the Open era to reach the women’s last four at Roland Garros.
Swiatek, ranked 54, is also through to her first major semi-final and cited the success of Osaka, who captured her third Grand Slam title last month, as a factor in her breakout performance.
“It was inspiring,” Swiatek said of Osaka’s return to form in New York after an indifferent 18 months for the Japanese star.
“I also know I can do better sometimes. I just kept working. Naomi is a good example of a player that just did the right work, and result was the effect of that.”
Podoroska stunned third seed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4 and joined exclusive company as only the third female qualifier to make the last four of a Grand Slam.
Podoroska will now attempt to become the first qualifier in history to advance to the final of any of the four majors.
Alexandra Stevenson reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 1999 while Christine Dorey achieved a similar run at the 1978 Australian Open.
“My dream is to be number one. That will never change,” said Podoroska, whose only other Grand Slam appearance came at the 2016 US Open.”
“I don’t want to wake up,” added Podoroska, the first Argentine woman to reach a major semi-final since Paola Suarez in Paris in 2004.
Gabriela Sabatini, the 1990 US Open winner, is the country’s only women’s Grand Slam singles champion.
‘Life continues’ says beaten Svitolina
For Svitolina, it marked a third quarter-final defeat in as many attempts at Roland Garros, having also lost at this stage in 2015 and 2017.
The Ukrainian hit just eight winners – the same number of times she dropped serve – as she slumped to her worst defeat at a major in terms of her opponent’s ranking.
“I had the opportunity but it didn’t happen, and right now it’s for sure upsetting, but in the end life continues,” said Svitolina.
“I think there was many things that let me down today.”
It was the first time Podoroska had even faced a player inside the top 20, having started the year ranked a lowly 255.
She is guaranteed 425,250 euros ($501,740) following her breakout performance in Paris, easily doubling her total career earnings of $301,547.
Danielle Collins will face Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the quarter-finals after a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Tunisian 30th seed Ons Jabeur, in a last-16 match rescheduled from Monday due to rain.
World number 57 Collins, a semi-finalist in Melbourne last year, is through to the last eight at a major for the second time.
Collins became the fifth unseeded player in the quarter-finals of the women’s draw, the most since Grand Slam tournaments were expanded to 32 seeds in 2001.
“I kind of felt like I was in the driver’s seat up until 6-4, 3-0, but she’s tricky,” said Collins, who dropped five straight games as Jabeur fought back in the second set.
“I lost my way there a little bit. I just needed to try and stay positive.”