Swiatek sees off Pegula to set up Kasatkina semi-final at French Open

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Top seed Iga Swiatek advanced to the semi-finals of the French Open on Wednesday with a straight sets victory over the 11th seed Jessica Pegula

It finished 6-3, 6-2 in 89 minutes to the 21-year-old Pole who registered her 33rd consecutive win of the season.

The roll has brought her titles on the hard hard courts in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami as well as on the clay courts in Stuttgart and Rome.

The latest triumph came on centre court against the 28-year-old American who was making her debut in the last eight in Paris.

Swiatek started more confidently and claimed Pegula's opening service game but faltered when holding two points to go 2-0 up.

She lost four points in a row to cough up her own service.

Course

It was level pegging until the seventh game when Pegula's service came under threat.

Swiatek got two chances to break Pegula’s service in the seventh game. She only needed one.

In an increasingly physical contest, Pegula asked a question of Swiatek's athleticism. The response was emphatic. The Pole chased down a drop shot and angled the ball over the net for a winner and a 4-3 lead.

She took the next two games to wrap up the opener in 43 minutes.

Power

The second set became something of a slug fest with neither player keen to try much in terms of slice or drop shots. Surprising. When Pegula departed from the power plays she reaped rewards.

She fashioned a break point in the third game but it was snuffed out as Swiatek went on a three-game winning streak to lead 4-1.

Though Pegula kept in touch, the end loomed large. And it came following another bout of trading backhand cross court drives.

Triumph

Swiatek sent her shot down the line for a winner and Pegula was the loser.

"Of course I'm nervous before going on the court," Swiatek told on-court interviewer Alex Corretja following her win.

"If I'm not feeling nervous then something very strange is likely to happen."

Swiatek, who won the title in 2020, will play the 20th seed Daria Kasatkina on Thursday for a place in Saturday's final.

The 25-year-old Russian beat her compatriot Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 7-6 in just over two hours.

Nerves

It was understandably nervous affair on centre court.

Kasatkina, the 20th seed reached the quarter-finals in 2017 while Kudermetova, seeded 29th, had never advanced to the second week in Paris.

"It was tough to manage mentally because basically I wanted to win a lot and in these moments you feel like the win is slipping out of your hands," said Kasatkina.

"But I'm just happy with the way I stayed on the court and didn't put myself in the situation where I was disappointed. So I'm really happy with this mental part of myself."

She will need to be on her mettle on Thursday. Swiatek has claimed all three of their matches this year.

"It was on hard courts, beginning of the year," said Kasatkina.

"I was not in the same shape as I am now. So I cannot compare what we are going to have tomorrow and what we had in February and March when we were playing.

"It's going to be completely different match. I want to win a lot and Iga wants to win as well. It's going to be a good match."

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