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Andreeva Upsets Sabalenka, Will Play Paolini In Roland Garros Semifinals

Mirra Andreeva plays a backhand against Aryna Sabalenka in the Women’s Singles Quarter Final match during Day Eleven of the 2024 French Open at Roland Garros on June 05, 2024 in Paris, France. Photo by Mateo Villalba/Getty Images

In a coming-of-age performance, 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva pulled off a stunning upset in Paris.

World No. 38 Andreeva shocked world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4 to reach her major maiden semifinal at Roland Garros.

Andreeva beat Sabalenka for the first time in three meetings to become the youngest Grand Slam semifinalist since Martina Hingis (16) in 1997 at the US Open as well as youngest Roland Garros semifinalist, also since Hingis in 1997.

Playing clever combinations, Andreeva sometimes hit behind the big-hitting Belarusian in snapping Sabalenka’s 11-match Grand Slam winning streak and denying her bid to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win the Australian Open and French Open back-to-back in the same season.

Andreeva, who is coached by former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez and plays doubles alongside former Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva, said she operates on instinct.

“I kind of see the game. I just play wherever I want. I don’t even have a plan,” Andreeva said. “So when I see. When I see an open space on the court, I try to play there or if I. I think that maybe she will run there and try to play behind her back or something like this. Yeah, me and my coach, we had a plan today, but. Again, I didn’t remember anything, sorry.”

At 17, Andreeva is the youngest semifinalist and will face the oldest semifinalist, Jasmine Paolini, for a spot in Saturday’s final.

A passionate Paolini crashed the Top 4- seeded party shocking fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to fight into her first career Grand Slam semifinal in her 18th major appearance.

“I really tried to fight every ball,” Paolini told Tennis Channel’s Jon Wertheim afterward. “It’s tough to play against her. I played her in Stuttgart, two-hours-and-a-half third set, so I was a little bit prepared.

“I was prepared for what I should expect from this match. I think it went very well. I had a little bit of roller coaster in the second set of emotion but I managed to come back. I tried to play point-by-point and it went well, yeah.”

World No. 15 Paolini rises to a new career-high ranking of No. 10 with her first career win over a Top-5 ranked player in a Slam.

The top-half semifinal pits world No. 1 Iga Swiatek vs. No. 3 Coco Gauff in a rematch of the 2022 final. Swiatek has defeated Gauff in 10 of 11 meetings, sweeping all eight clay-court sets they’ve played.

The winner of the Swiatek vs. Gauff semifinal will be a massive favorite against either the youngest woman still standing in Andreeva or the oldest in Paolini.

Dubai champion Paolini, who began the 2023 season ranked No. 62, had never surpassed a Grand Slam second round until she reached the Australian Open fourth round in January.

Today, the 28-year-old Paolini, the oldest woman still standing the draw, is now one win away from becoming the first Italian woman to reach the Roland Garros final since her doubles partner, Sara Errani, lost to Maria Sharapova in the 2012 French Open final. After this match, Paolini was set to partner Errani in doubles vs. Emma Navarro and Diana Schnaider on Court No. 14.