Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina after being knocked out of the 2024 French Open.© AFP

Italy’s Jasmine Paolini reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open on Wednesday after dumping out fourth seed Elena Rybakina 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Paolini, seeded 12th, is enjoying the best season of her career at the age of 28 and will play two-time Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka or 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva for a spot in the final. “It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Paolini, who had never previously made it past the second round at any Grand Slam until this year.

She had two points for a 5-3 lead on her serve in the second set but had to regroup after former Wimbledon champion Rybakina rallied to take the match to a deciding set.

“It was a really tough match. I was a bit too emotional in the second set.

“I said to myself ‘Okay, it is good’. She (Rybakina) is a great champion so it can happen. I tried to hit every ball and it worked, I am here.”

She had won a total of four matches in 16 Grand Slam appearances before advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open in January.

Now she is two wins away in her unlikely quest to emulate compatriot Francesca Schiavone, who won the 2010 French Open.

Paolini’s victory also means there are Italian players in the semi-finals of both the men’s and women’s singles of the same Grand Slam for the first time in the Open era.

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Topics mentioned in this article

Elena Rybakina
Aryna Sabalenka


French Open 2024