Mirra Andreeva and Jasmine Paolini reach French Open semis on day of shocks

Teenager Mirra Andreeva beat an ailing Aryna Sabalenka to reach the semi-finals of the French Open.

The 17-year-old Russian edged out world number two Sabalenka 6-7 (5) 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 29 brutal minutes.

She will face another surprise semi-finalist, Jasmine Paolini, who stunned fourth seed Elena Rybakina on a day of shocks in Paris.

Sabalenka, the second seed, was clearly unwell and looked on the brink of retiring early in the first set.

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Aryna Sabalenka struggled throughout the match (Aurelien Morissard/AP)

Sabalenka was in such a bad way that she was still in medical care three hours after the match had finished.

She later said: “I had a difficult time out there physically today. I have been very sick the last few days with some kind of stomach bug, so it’s been a challenge.”

But that was to take nothing away from the quality of Andreeva as she progressed to her first grand slam semi-final.

“Honestly I even forgot the score,” she said. “I really tried not to focus and on my second match point I was trying to imagine saving a break point. I tried to stay brave and I managed to win.

“I was really nervous before the match, I knew she would have the crowd but I was a little surprised you guys cheered for me.”

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Sabalenka waits at the net to congratulate the teenager (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)

“I played her in Madrid, it was a really tough match,” added Andreeva. “She plays really fast and goes for it no matter what the score is.

“I think it will be a little bit like today and I will try to play with the same level and the same cold head.”

Paolini, who until this year had never progressed beyond the second round at a grand slam, won a see-saw match against Rybakina 6-2 4-6 6-4.

The 28-year-old Italian was aided by an off-colour performance from former Wimbledon champion Rybakina, who hit 48 unforced errors including 32 from her usually trusty forehand.

Paolini, from Tuscany, has enjoyed an amazing 2024 so far having reached the Australian Open fourth round and climbed to a career-high 12 in the world last month.

She said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling, it was a really tough match.

“I got a bit too emotional in the second set. But I said to myself ‘she’s a great champion, it can happen’, and I just tried to fight and hit every ball, and I’m here!

“I tried just to stay there in every point and forget what happened in the second set. It happens, it’s tennis, it’s normal. Accept that and fight again.

With Jannik Sinner already through, it is the first time an Italian man and woman have reached the semi-finals at the same grand slam.

Rybakina said once again that she has been struggling lately with allergies and not sleeping well. “Not the greatest day at the office,” she added.

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