The men were rained out on Tuesday at Roland Garros, and the women’s matches were all upsets as shared-birthday girls Timea Bacsinszky and teen Jelena Ostapenko set up an unlikely semifinal in more ways than one.
The No. 30-seeded Bacsinszky upset No. 13 seed and crowd favorite Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-4, 6-4 in a match twice delayed by rain and hampered by gusty winds.
“It was really difficult because we had all the seasons rolled into one today,” Bacsinszky said of a day that saw rain and hail. “We had a sand storm, a hurricane and we almost had snow too. It was really tough to keep my concentration all day long…I’m really sorry to have knocked out the penultimate French player here…I think the magic has been happening here for me here always, even the first time I came here as a little kid. I’m still finding out why.”
The Swiss will next meet the unseeded 19-year-old Ostapenko of Latvia, who upended No. 11 seed and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
“To play a semifinal of Roland Garros on your birthday, I think it’s really nice,” said Ostapenko, who lost first round last year. “I hope I can enjoy it…When I came here I didn’t expect to be in the semis, but I’m playing better and better every match. I’m getting more confident, so if I keep it up, I think anything can happen.”
Ostapenko is the first Latvian woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in the Open Era. Both Bacsinszky and Ostapenko celebrate birthdays on the Thursday of the semifinal.
“It’s pretty funny,” Bacsinsky said of her sometimes doubles partner. “I think it’s pretty cool…Lucky her, she’s way younger than I am!”
Ostapenko hit 38 winners to 50 unforced errors during her contest. She is the first teen semifinalist at Roland Garros since Ana Ivanovic 10 years ago.
The gates will open early on Wednesday at Roland Garros with a loaded schedule featuring (4) Rafael Nadal vs. (20) Pablo Carreno Busta, (2) Novak Djokovic vs. (6) Dominic Thiem, (2) Karolina Pliskova vs. (28) Caroline Garcia, (1) Andy Murray vs. (8) Kei Nishikori, (3) Simona Halep vs. (5) Elina Svitolina, and (3) Stan Wawrinka vs. (7) Marin Cilic.
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