French Open results 2022: Iga Swiatek wins, Veronika Kudermetova injury debate

The women’s semi-finals in Paris are all set, but not without some late drama and an on-camera slip-up from the world No. 1.

Daria Kasatkina said Rafael Nadal’s late-night “fighting spirit” in defeating Novak Djokovic to make the French Open quarter-finals inspired her to secure a maiden Grand Slam semi-final spot.

Kasatkina claimed a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) victory over fellow Russian Veronika Kudermetova and will take on world number one Iga Swiatek on Thursday for a place in Saturday’s championship match.

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“Rafa was my idol since I’m a kid. When I was small I was trying to copy his game,” said the 25-year-old.

“It’s so obvious that he’s the best fighter in the history of sport maybe. You can have the best backhand, forehand, serve, forever, but if you cannot fight, you cannot win. So I think the fighting spirit is the most important.”

Nadal’s four-set win over defending champion Djokovic in a match which finished at 1:15am Wednesday proved a rollercoaster for the Russian.

Kasatkina, playing in her third career quarter-final at the Slams but first since 2018, has made the semis without dropping a set.

Kudermetova was in her first quarter-final at the majors and the tension was apparent as she committed 50 unforced errors and had to save 12 of 17 break points.

The 25-year-old Kudermetova needed a medical time-out at 5-6 in the second set to deal with a foot issue and fought off four match points in the tiebreak. It was the second time in as many matches she had called for medical assistance to deal with the issue, but some took exception to the timing of the request — when Kasatkina was preparing to serve for the match.

New York Times Tennis writer Christopher Clarey tweeted: “Basically, unless you need emergency medical assistance, you should not be allowed to take a medical time-out before your opponent serves to stay in a set or win a set.

“Tennis is a game of rhythm and routines. A non-emergency medical time-out is, tactical or not, a significant break in your opponent’s rhythm and routine. Uncool. Unsportsmanlike.”

Kasatkina, however, secured victory on her fifth match point courtesy of a sweetly-timed backhand drop shot.

Meanwhile, Swiatek powered into the semi-finals as a comfortable victory over American Jessica Pegula extended the world number one’s winning streak to 33 matches.

The Polish star cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win on Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a last-four meeting with Kasatkina.

Swiatek will equal Venus Williams’ record for the longest unbeaten run for a women’s player in the 21st century if she wins a second Roland Garros title this week.

But she said she still feels nervous before big matches despite appearing in almost unbeatable form.

“I do (feel nervous),” said Swiatek. “If I stop feeling nervous than something weird is going on…

“Sometimes stress is a positive thing as it makes you more tense and more active.”

The top seed, who turned 21 on Tuesday, won her only Grand Slam title so far in Paris two years ago.

She has won five consecutive tournaments this year, including four WTA 1,000 titles.

Despite not being at her best, Swiatek still hit 30 winners in an ultimately one-sided match.

The 11th seed Pegula has also enjoyed a fine season but is still waiting to reach a maiden major semi-final after also losing in the last eight to the previous two Australian Opens.

Another dominant display from the Pole looked likely when Swiatek broke in the first game and then led 40-0 in the second.

But Pegula reeled off five straight points to break straight back and signal the world’s best player may not have it all her own way.

Swiatek played an excellent return game to move 4-3 in front, before wrapping up the opening set by completing a run of four successive games as Pegula mis-hit wide.

She saved a break point early in the second set before opening up a 3-1 lead herself with a backhand winner up the line.

Pegula managed to save three match points in the eighth game as she tried to make Swiatek serve the match out, but the former champion sealed victory with another perfectly-placed backhand.

Originally published as ‘Unsportsmanlike’: Russian star raises hairy tennis topic with last-ditch move before loss


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