Teenager Iga Swiatek became the first Polish woman in 81 years to reach the French Open final on Thursday as she demolished Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska 6-2, 6-1.
The 19-year-old is yet to drop a set in the tournament and will play Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin for the title on Saturday. The fourth seed continued her breakthrough season with a gritty 6-4, 7-5 win over Kvitova.
The American faltered when serving for the match at 5-4 but broke Kvitova in the following game before closing out the victory over the Czech seventh seed.
Kenin, 21, will try to become the first woman to win two Slams in the same season since Angelique Kerber claimed the Australian and US Open titles in 2016.
Swiatek, ranked 54, has matched the run of compatriot Jadwiga Jedrzejowska who finished runner-up at Roland Garros in 1939. She is only the second Polish woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open era after Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon in 2012.
Swiatek becomes the seventh unseeded women’s finalist at Roland Garros. Of the previous six, only Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 went on to lift the trophy.
“It seems unreal,” said Swiatek. “I never thought at the start I would play so good here but I always knew that if I was going to be in the final of a Grand Slam it would be at the French Open.
“It’s amazing for me,” she added. “It’s a dream come true.”
“Basically I wanted to play this match as if it was the first round. I didn’t want to think I was in the semi-finals because it would stress me,” said Swiatek, who has conceded only 23 games en route to the final.
The last woman to capture the French Open title without losing a set was Justine Henin in 2007.
“I will need to be on a different level, the higher level, even though I’m winning easily right now,” added Swiatek, who has never faced Kvitova or Kenin.
“I know they’re both great players, so really I have no expectations. I don’t care if I’m going to lose or win. I’m going to just play my best tennis.”
World No 131 Podoroska was the lowest-ranked semi-finalist in Paris in the modern era, and the first women’s qualifier to reach the last four of the French Open.
She will rise to a career best ranking of 48 after the tournament, having arrived without a single Grand Slam main draw win to her name.
“Of course my ranking is going to change, and the tournaments that I’m going to play. But not my life,” said Podoroska.
“I’m going to be the same person. I’m going to try to improve my game, like I’ve been doing the past few years.”
With AFP Inputs
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