Curse of French Open women's singles champions lives on

The curse of French Open women's singles champions continued as holder Iga Swiatek was knocked out 6-4, 6-4 by Maria Sakkari in yesterday's quarter-finals, leaving the draw wide open.

Swiatek, who took an off-court medical time-out early in the second set, was overwhelmed by Sakkari's power and pace on Court Philippe Chatrier with almost 5,000 spectators allowed to attend.

The 20-year-old Pole, who was bidding to become the first woman to retain her Roland Garros title since Justine Henin in 2007, got off to a good start.

But she lacked her usual poise against her 25-year-old Greek rival, who dictated most of the points and was greatly helped by her opponent's unforced errors.

Sakkari, the world No. 18, will face Czech Barbora Krejcikova for a place in Saturday's final.

Krejcikova had defeated 17-year-old Coco Gauff 7-6(8/6), 6-3 earlier.

Russia's 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova meets unseeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek in the other semi-final.

"I wouldn't have done it without my team, their support. It's still a long way to go but we made a huge step today," Sakkari said on court, after her compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the men's last four, where he will meet Germany's Alexander Zverev.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal also reached the semi-finals with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 win over Argentinian 10th seed Diego Schwartzman.

The Spaniard, 35, dropped his first set at the tournament since 2019 - ending a run of 36 consecutive sets won in Paris . - REUTERS