French Open 2020: Iga Swiatek reaches first Slam final with demolition of Nadia Podoroska


Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek’s previous best performances at Grand Slams came at the 2019 French Open and this year’s Australian Open where she reached the fourth round

Polish teenager Iga Swiatek is a step away from a remarkable first Grand Slam after brushing aside Nadia Podoroska 6-2 6-1 in her French Open semi-final.

The 19-year-old needed only 70 minutes to beat the Argentine, who also was a first-time major semi-finalist.

Swiatek, whose devastating forehand did much damage, never relinquished control after breaking the world number 131’s opening service games in both sets.

The Pole will now play either Sofia Kenin or Petra Kvitova in the final.

“Petra is a superstar for many years, she’s really experienced,” said Swiatek. “Sofia is on fire this year. I don’t want to think about it – I’m just happy I’m in the final.”

Having overwhelmed Romanian top seed Simona Halep in the fourth round, Swiatek will fear neither Australian Open champion Kenin nor the vastly experienced Czech seventh seed Kvitova.

Whoever the world number 54 faces will have to have a good defence against a forehand which at times reached 80mph-plus against Podoroska. The teenager produced 11 groundstroke winners on that side, out of a total of 22.

Podoroska, the first qualifier in the Open era to reach the French Open women’s semi-final, also has a strong forehand side but was never given a chance to get into her rhythm.

The 23-year-old’s only bright moment came in the fifth game of the second set when she broke the Pole, although she needed four bites at it. Swiatek broke back straight away before serving out for victory at a cold and breezy Philippe Chatrier.

“I’m surprised,” Swiatek said of her run to the final. “But I always knew if I was going to reach a Grand Slam final it would be the French Open. It’s like a dream come true.

“I wanted to play this match as if it was the first round, I didn’t want to think it was a semi-final, because it would have stressed me out.”

Swiatek is only the second woman from Poland to reach the final at Roland Garros – the last was Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, who finished runner-up in 1939.