PARIS (AP) — Before the French Open, Tamara Zidansek had never advanced past the second round at any Grand Slam.

The former snowboarder has now become the first woman from Slovenia to reach the semifinals at a major tournament.

Spurred on by the vocal support of her coaching team on Court Philippe Chatrier, the 85th-ranked Zidansek defeated Spanish rival Paula Badosa 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 Tuesday at the clay-court tournament.

Get more from the Citrus County Chronicle

The French Open is the only remaining Grand Slam where tiebreakers are not played in the last set. Wimbledon recently installed tiebreakers at 12-12 in the final set.

After splitting the first two sets, Badosa violently threw her racket in anger at the changeover after Zidansek held for a 6-5 lead in the third. She regained her composure but Zidansek then saved three break points to take a 7-6 lead and converted her second match point with a big forehand in the next game.

Zidansek, a three-time national junior snowboarding champion in Slovenia, will face either Elena Rybakina or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the final at Roland Garros.

In perfect weather conditions, both players pulled off some spectacular winners but also hit a lot of unforced errors.

Badosa applied pressure from the start with a flurry deep groundstrokes from the baseline. The strategy worked as Zidansek dropped her first service game and then trailed 3-0. But an error-strewn game from Badosa gave her rival a break and a boost.

Zidansek started to return better and went for her shots, linking attacks with bold moves at the net to even the score at 3-3. Badosa saved a set point in the 12th game with a forehand attack but could not fend off the second as her poor drop shot ended up in the net.

Badosa trailed 4-2 in the second set after a series of unforced errors but Zidansek could not build on the momentum and struggled with her serve, too.

The Spaniard rallied, made the decisive break in the ninth game at love and sealed the set with a big forehand.

The 23-year-old Zidansek opened this year’s tournament by upsetting seventh-seeded Bianca Andreescu in the first round for her first career win over a top-10 player. In that match, she was two points from defeat in both the second and third sets.

Zidansek reached a career-high ranking of No. 56 in June 2019.


AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this report.


Prep Zone

Get updates and player profiles ahead of Friday's high school games, plus a recap Saturday with stories, photos, video Frequency: Seasonal Twice a week

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to read our premium content. If you have a subscription, please log in or sign up for an account on our website to continue.