STA, 8 June 2021 - Tamara Zidanšek continues to make Slovenian tennis history as she has advanced to the semi-finals of the French Open. The 23-year old defeated Paula Badosa of Spain in Tuesday's quarter-finals in Paris in three sets (7:5, 4:6 and 8:6).
Zidanšek became the first semi-finalist of Roland-Garros, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, and will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in the semi-finals on Thursday.
In her first Grand Slam quarter-finals, the Slovenian needed almost two hours and a half to defeat the tough Spaniard, who got broken down only in the extra games in the last set.
Prior to the win, Zidanšek became the first Slovenian female tennis player to advance to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament in a singles competition since 1977, when Mima Jaušovec won it all on the Paris clay.
"I had known already before the match that it would be a difficult encounter. I was leading in the second set, but she came back. I did not feel quite well, but then in the third set I felt better and eventually I won," Zidanšek told reporters.
The Slovenian was swarmed by the press after the win as she became a new rising star in Paris, and she had to hold a lengthy press conference to answer all questions imaginable from reporters.
"Slovenia is indeed a small country, but it has plenty of top athletes," Zidanšek said, adding that she personally was building her career gradually, step by step.
"I never skipped any steps. I build by career like a house, slowly and reliably. I was not a wunderkind who would stand out at the age of 16," she added.
Zidanšek has been overwhelmed by congratulations, including in person from the top male tennis player in the world, Serb Novak Đoković, as she was leaving the main court at Roland-Garros.
"Everything was very emotional. I admit that I was nervous ahead of the match and right before the end, when you are aware of the importance of the win. But I remained calm and focused on my tasks," she told Radio Slovenija.
Zidanšek will take a day off to mentally and physically prepare for Pavlyuchenkova, who will also be playing in her first Grand Slam semi-finals, and to work on tactic for the Russian.
"Pavlyuchenkova is a very aggressive player who applies constant pressure from both sides. I will try to force my rhythm of play, make her run," the Slovenian added.
Prior to the tournament, she placed 85th on the WTA rankings and by making the career feat she is expected to crack the top-50.