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Italy's Paolini to play Swiatek in French Open final

Updated: 2024-06-07 09:18
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Italy's Jasmine Paolini celebrates winning her semi final match against Russia's Mirra Andreeva at the French Open in Roland Garros, Paris, France June 6, 2024. 

PARIS - Jasmine Paolini will play Iga Swiatek in the French Open final after the Italian 12th seed ended the run of 17-year-old Russian sensation Mirra Andreeva in the last four on Thursday, winning 6-3, 6-1.

Paolini is through to her first Grand Slam final at the age of 28. She had never gone beyond the second round of a major before the start of this year.

The world number 15 had won a total of four matches in 16 Grand Slam appearances before advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open in January.

Now she is one win away from an improbable title at Roland Garros as she tries to emulate compatriot Francesca Schiavone, who won the 2010 French Open. Paolini is also guaranteed to break into the top 10 for the first time.

"I learned I think a little bit later than other players, to dream is the most important thing in sport and in life," said Paolini.

"I'm happy I could dream this moment. I don't know what to say, I'm so emotional."

Andreeva had become the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist in 27 years with a shock victory over second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the last eight.

But her bid to be crowned the youngest major champion since Martina Hingis at the 1997 US Open was cut short as Andreeva was unable to reproduce the level that saw her put out an ailing Sabalenka.

Paolini snatched the only break of a tight opening set in the fourth game, saving five break chances across her next two service games to keep Andreeva at arm's length.

The errors continued to pile up for Andreeva and Paolini seized her opportunity once more when it arose at 1-1 in the second set, before breaking for a second time to stride towards the finish line.

With Andreeva looking increasingly disconsolate and fighting back tears, Paolini applied the coup de grace with one last break to complete a resounding victory.


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