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French Open: Andreeva upsets Sabalenka, Rybakina beaten by Paolini

By primenewsghana
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Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva became the youngest Grand Slam semifinalist since 1997 with a shock victory over second seed Aryna Sabalenka, who was struggling with an apparent illness, at the French Open on Wednesday.

The Russian is the youngest woman to reach the last four at a Slam event since Martina Hingis at the 1997 US Open, and the youngest at Roland Garros since Hingis, also that year.

"Me and my coach, we had a plan today but again I didn't remember anything. I just try to play as I feel," said Andreeva.

Sabalenka called for multiple medical time-outs as she complained of not feeling well and Andreeva, playing in her maiden Slam quarterfinal, eventually took advantage with a composed display.

The world number 38 completed a memorable win in style after almost two-and-a-half hours with a brilliant lobbed winner, delighting the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd.

"I was also a little surprised as you guys cheered for me, I didn't expect that so thank you very much for cheering me today," she told the spectators.

Sabalenka had been targeting a seventh straight Slam semifinal and had won 11 consecutive matches at the majors following her second Melbourne title earlier this year.

Andreeva will play 12th seed Paolini for a spot in the final on Thursday after her own surprise 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over former Wimbledon champion Rybakina.

Paolini made just one unforced error in a dominant opening set, but her level dropped after breaking to lead 4-3 in the second, allowing Rybakina to force a decider.

But she edged a topsy-turvy third set which featured five breaks of serve to secure a deserved victory, as a wayward Rybakina exited the tournament in a blaze of 48 unforced errors.

The 28-year-old Paolini, who was playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, continued a brilliant week for Italian tennis after Jannik Sinner also made his maiden French Open semifinal and took the men's world number one ranking.

It is the first time Italy have had semifinalists in both the men's and women's singles at a Slam event in the Open era.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Paolini, who had never got past the French Open second round and had only won four Grand Slam matches in her career before this year.

Tournament favourite Iga Swiatek plays US Open champion Coco Gauff in Thursday's other women's semifinal.