Tennis-Teenager Andreeva stuns ailing Sabalenka to make French Open semis

By Thomson Reuters Jun 5, 2024 | 12:38 PM

By Shrivathsa Sridhar

PARIS (Reuters) – Second seed Aryna Sabalenka was sent crashing out of the French Open after a shock 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 quarter-final loss to Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva on Wednesday after being hampered by illness throughout the contest.

Having won her last two meetings with Andreeva comfortably, Belarusian Sabalenka wasted little time getting to work as the Australian Open champion cranked up her big shots to go ahead 3-1 before her serve came undone in the opening set.

A suddenly out-of-sorts Sabalenka called the trainer out and had medication for illness after the 17-year-old Andreeva surged to a 5-3 lead and sensed a real opportunity to cause a massive upset on the biggest stage.

But Sabalenka regrouped to force a tiebreak where the 2023 semi-finalist seized the advantage with a stunning drop shot on set-point, but appeared to struggle physically again at the start of the next set.

She got a time violation for taking too long between games as she crouched to her knees to recover at one point, and looked agitated at 4-2 down, eventually allowing her Russian opponent to take the match into a decider.

After an exchange of breaks, the pair were locked in a high-quality battle that thrilled fans on Court Philippe Chatrier but Andreeva held her own and broke Sabalenka in the final game to complete a memorable victory on her second match point.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Paris; Editing by Toby Davis)