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French SF pits “miracle” Kvitova vs. winning-obsessed Kenin

PARIS (AP) – One says it’s a “miracle” that she is enjoying in any respect. The different obsesses about profitable. And each are coping higher on courtroom on the largest tournaments on this pandemic yr than any of their friends.

Petra Kvitova vs. Sofia Kenin within the French Open semifinals will pit two highly effective hitters who’re at very totally different factors of their profession arcs.

Kvitova, who by then already had two Wimbledon titles, was instructed by docs she may by no means be aggressive once more after she was stab-bed by an intruder at her dwelling within the Czech Republic in December 2016. All 5 fingers on the left hand that she makes use of to carry her racket had been injured and she or he sustained nerve and tendon harm.

Her 6-3, 6-3 victory Wednesday towards Laura Siegemund, an unseeded German enjoying her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, marked one other step again from that trauma for the 30-year-old Czech who’s returning to the semifinals at Roland Garros for the primary time since 2012.

“It’s another miracle,” she stated.

Her coach, Jiri Vanek, recalled that the very first thing Kvitova stated after surgical procedure to restore her hand was: “’Look, guys, I (am) coming back and I will do everything that is possible to be able to play.’”

“She was totally focused,” he stated.

Siegemund discovered that out, too, on Court Philippe Chatrier, as Kvitova rained down six aces – taking her tournament-leading tally to 24 – in a first-set blur through which she additionally gained 93% of the factors on her first serve and by no means confronted break level.

“The more she starts to roll, you know, the more it rolls,” stated Siegemund, who broke Kvitova twice within the second set earlier than she wilted, double-faulting on match level.

Kvitova hasn’t misplaced a set in Paris. Kenin has misplaced a set in all of her matches bar one, within the third spherical.

But her 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 quarterfinal win towards fellow American Danielle Collins once more confirmed how profitable the title at this yr’s Australian Open labored wonders for the arrogance of the 21-year-old who, till Wednesday, had not performed a Grand Slam quarterfinal outdoors of Melbourne Park.

“Australia definitely really gave me a big boost,” she stated.

In the opposite ladies’s semifinal, 54th-ranked Iga Swiatek performs 131st-ranked Nadia Podoroska, the primary feminine qualifier to get to the ultimate 4 on the French Open.

Kenin and Kvitova are the one ladies who’ve reached spherical 4 or higher in any respect three of the Grand Slams performed on this pandemic-hit yr that pressured t he cancellation of Wimbledon.

Kenin thinks the winner Thursday might be the participant who finest handles the big-stage butterflies.

“That’s going to be a major key,” she stated. “And, of course, she’s like really, you know, tall, powerful, she has a big serve, big shots. I’m just going to have to figure out a way to balance my game out. Obviously, I’m not going to overpower her since I’m not going to be able to. But I’ve got different things I can throw in to mix things up.”

“I love winning more than anything,” she stated.

Kvitova was a finalist on the 2019 Australian Open – her finest displaying at a significant for the reason that stabbing – and can be enjoying her seventh Grand Slam semifinal.

She, too, says she generally will get so nervous that “I didn’t want to talk, I didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to go out there and play.”

“But on the other side,” she added, “I knew if I step (out) there everything is much better.”


Dampf reported from Rome.


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