Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep advanced on Wednesday to a semifinal meeting at the French Open where a first-time No. 1 ranking will be on the line for both players.
The No. 3-seeded Halep made an unlikely comeback in her quarterfinal match against No. 5 Elina Svitolina, trailing a set and two breaks, with her opponent serving for the match, but coming from the brink to win 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-0.
“I said that the match is lost…That’s it. It’s over,” Halep said afterwards. “And then I started to feel more relaxed, maybe because I thought it’s finished.”
Svitlina had one match point, which Halep in her post-match conference said she didn’t realize at the time. Svitolina said she felt the nerves during the contest.
“Such a big event,” she said. “It can happen.”
Tomorrow in the semifinals Halep will face No. 2 Karolina Pliskova, who was a 7-6(3), 6-4 winner over No. 28 Carolina Garcia of France.
If Pliskova wins, she will be the new No. 1, replacing Angie Kerber. If Halep beats Pliskova she will need to win in the final to become No. 1.
“I was like, ‘There is no chance I make final here,’” Pliskova said regarding her mindset entering the tournament. “And now it’s close, but it’s close and it’s far, as well, because I’m playing against somebody who I would (call) one of the best girls on clay. It’s not like you’re going to get it for free, you know.”
Thursdays semifinals are (2) Pliskova vs. (3) Halep, and (30) Timea Bacsinszky vs. teen Jelena Ostapenko.
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