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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

RG2020: Sofia Kenin, Stefanos Tsitsipas battle into French Open semi-finals

Australian Open champion Kenin was kept on her toes for two sets by an opponent who had beaten her in their previous encounters before strolling through the decider to set up a clash with Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova.

By: Reuters | October 8, 2020 8:50:27 am
Sofia Kenin, French OpenSofia Kenin of the U.S. celebrates winning her quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Danielle Collins of the U.S. in three sets 6-4, 4-6, 6-0, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (AP/PTI)

Fourth seed Sofia Kenin claimed her maiden French Open semi-final spot as she fought to a 6-4 4-6 6-0 victory against fellow American Danielle Collins on Wednesday.

The Australian Open champion was kept on her toes for two sets by an opponent who had beaten her in their previous encounters before strolling through the decider to set up a clash with Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova.

Collins was bothered by abdominal pains in the third set, looking unable to give her maximum effort in the finale on court Philippe Chatrier.

“This is really special, I’m super happy. I know she plays really aggressive so I needed to have a better first serve percentage and play aggressive myself; I did a great job overall,” said Kenin, who won four of her five matches at Roland Garros in three sets.

“I guess I like winning in three sets. I know it’s tough but I’m getting the job done.”

After a solid start on both sides, Collins served a woeful double fault to hand Kenin the first break of the match, and a 3-2 lead.

She held serve and set up another break point at 4-2 but Collins saved it to stay in contention.

Kenin was, however, solid on her service games and she bagged the opening set when her opponent’s return sailed wide.

It was the first time Kenin took a set against Collins in four encounters, and the fourth seed kept her momentum, breaking again for 3-2 in the second set as her unseeded opponent smacked a forehand long.

Tsitsipas recovers from slow start against Rublev to reach semis

Stefanos Tsitsipas, French Open Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the second Grand Slam semi-final of his career on Wednesday, raising his game after a slow start to defeat Russian Andrey Rublev 7-5 6-2 6-3 at the French Open.

Before the quarter-final on Court Philippe Chatrier, the 13th-seeded Rublev had won both previous tour-level meetings against fellow 22-year-old Tsitsipas with their last encounter less than two weeks ago in the final in Hamburg.

The Russian looked set to keep his record intact as he served for the first set at 5-4 but Tsitsipas, who also reached the semi-finals at last year’s Australian Open, fought back to level the set and then broke Rublev’s serve to take the opener.

From 3-5 down in the first set, Tsitsipas won five straight games and a frustrated Rublev seemed to have run out of ideas against his inspired opponent.

Asked during his on-court interview what he changed in his game to suddenly shift gears, Tsitsipas said after a long silence: “If I tell you it won’t be a secret anymore.

“I have been feeling really comfortable playing on this court. Despite not having a good start and being a break down, I remembered what a big fighter I am. It’s also about fighting and trying to find solutions in big moments.

“I managed to put my brain into work and find solutions to difficult tasks that I had to complete.”

The 2019 ATP Finals winner started finding sharp angles while generating more power in his groundstrokes. He started approaching the net more often with success and also began playing sublime passing shots.

Rublev did not find a way back into the match as Tsitsipas broke his serve three more times in the next two sets.

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