Tamara Zidansek speaks: “I was struggling a little bit [at the end of the second] but in the third set I managed to get my groove, and I was fighting really well.” Is she going to watch the next match? “A little bit … I have some recovery to do, but I’ll keep an eye on it.” A terrific victory for the world No 85, who looks to have the game to climb much higher in the rankings.
Tamara Zidansek beats Paula Badosa 7-5, 4-6, 8-6!
It’s Badosa’s turn to feel the tension now, and she sends a couple of tight forehands drifting beyond the lines. Suddenly, Zidansek has two match points. She misses a chance with the first, but senses Badosa is cracking, and powers a winner into the corner. She’s done it!
What a ridiculous match this has been. For quality, drama and tension, it’s been better than plenty of grand slam finals.
Third set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Dogged defensive work from Zidansek this time, but she overcooks a sliced backhand and is under pressure at 15-30. Ack, the first serve is a mile off, and a double fault follows. Two break points … the first saved with a ridiculous forehand smash down the line. And she does it again!
Deuce … and another double fault. She gets a lucky break, a forehand skidding off the service line. Another huge forehand winner, then a solid return from Badosa, and we are back to deuce. Badosa makes a mess of her cross-court return, but Zidansek nets that trusty drop shot. A seven-minute game now. Zidansek finds another long-range forehand winner and gets the better of the next rally, smashing the ball away to somehow hold serve!
Third set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 6-6 Badosa (*denotes next server) Badosa opens with a zipping cross-court winner, then a double fault. A big serve and a flat volley into the corner gets her out of trouble. We’ve had 14 breaks of serve in this match, but none in the last eight games.
Third set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 6-5 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Badosa has found more consistency, cutting out the errors and making Zidansek win a lot more points. The Slovenian wins a key, 17-shot rally at 15-15 and closes out. Her resistance is getting to Badosa, who launches her racket towards her chair as a return flies wide.
Third set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 5-5 Badosa (*denotes next server) No tie-breaks here; the first player to get two games ahead will win the match. Zidansek has the first chance but Badosa doesn’t give her a look in, going on the attack and powering to 40-0. A big first serve out wide seals a hold to love, and the pressure is back on her opponent.
Third set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 5-4 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Two hours on court, and these two still can’t be separated. Zidansek chooses the perfect time to land her first ace, and gets a comfortable hold with a trademark forehand winner.
Third set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 4-4 Badosa (*denotes next server) Those last two points from Zidansek showed terrific touch, and she demonstrates it again here with a drop shot Badosa doesn’t bother chasing. Badosa’s turn to feel the nerves, and an eighth double fault follows – but a well-worked point gets her back to 30-all.
At game point, she goes for her trusty double-handed backhand down the line – and misses. Badosa is doing just about enough on serve, though, and secures the hold with a deep slice that Zidansek floats back beyond the baseline.
Third set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 4-3 Badosa* (*denotes next server) The volume is rising from both players as we edge towards the two-hour mark. Badosa is finding the pace and power that eluded her early on, absolutely burying a winner at 30-15 down. Zidansek pounces on a net cord, finding the line with her forehand, and then brings out that tricky drop-volley again to edge back ahead.
Third set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 3-3 Badosa (*denotes next server) From 2-0 up to 3-2 down, the pressure is now back on Badosa. She shakes it off, completing the hold with a cross-court volley and a triumphant, tension-relieving roar.
Third set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 3-2 Badosa* (*denotes next server) With Badosa wobbling on serve again and Zidansek rediscovering her accuracy, this feels very finely poised now. There are a lot more short points as the errors creep in, and Zidansek gets a welcome hold as Badosa’s return up the line drifts wide.
Third set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 2-2 Badosa (*denotes next server) It’s crucial for Zidansek to keep in touch, because Badosa has already shown nerves on serve. Badosa starts well – a deft, sliding volley setting up 30-0 – but a delicate, cross-court drop shot from Zidansek changes the game. At break point, Badosa lands a risky backhand winner down the line, but Zidansek pulls out that drop shot again, and breaks back. That’s the 14th break of this match!
Third set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 1-2 Badosa* (*denotes next server) From 7-5, 4-2 up, Zidansek has lost six games on the spin, and badly needs to stop that run here. A crafty, angled drop shot turns the game her way at 15-30, and she gets the job done on second serve, Badosa’s return landing well wide.
Third set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 0-2 Badosa (*denotes next server) Ramos gives Zidansek an informal warning over getting coaching from her team up in the stands. Badosa dishes up another double-fault, but rallies with a ferocious winner down the line. Zidansek has the chance to take it to deuce, but sends her volley a mile wide. She would have nailed that in the first two sets.
Third set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-6, 0-1 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Here we go, then: the deciding set. Zidansek serves first and moves to 30-0 easily enough – but then Badosa strikes back, stepping forward to turn the game around and earn a break point. She takes it as Zidansek beams a forehand well wide.
Paula Padosa wins the second set 6-4 to level the match
Second set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-6 Badosa (*denotes next server) The change in body language is stark; Badosa is now bouncing around the court, with Zidansek looking deflated as she sends a hopeful backhand wide. Set point for Badosa, won with a whipped forehand that Zidansek can’t return.
Second set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-5 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Zidansek has the weight of the world on her shoulders, and double-faults for the first time to go 0-30 behind. She tries to change it up with a drop shot, but it’s always falling short, and a wild forehand completes an almost zero-effort break for Badosa, who will now serve to level the match.
Second set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-4 Badosa (*denotes next server) At this point, both players would probably rather not be serving – and Badosa quickly slips 0-30 down. Some overly defensive play from Zidansek allows Badosa to bounce back, however, and a big first serve seals the hold.
Second set: Zidansek 7-5, 4-3 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Tamara Zidansek is two games away now, but her struggles continue on first serve and some aggressive baseline play gets Badosa two break-back points. On second serve, Badosa’s deep return proves enough to earn another break – the fourth in a row.
Second set: *Zidansek 7-5, 4-2 Badosa (*denotes next server) When Badosa has her opponent on the back foot, self-doubt seems to creep in. A wonky forehand is followed by a double fault, then a weak second serve which is ruthlessly put away by Zidansek. Three break points, and a break quickly gifted by Badosa, who is running out of games.
Second set: Zidansek 7-5, 3-2 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Badosa senses a chance at 15-30, on Zidansek’s second serve. She pounds a return through her opponent, and seals the break as Zidansek, feeling the pressure, mishits. Back on serve in the second set!
Second set: *Zidansek 7-5, 3-1 Badosa (*denotes next server) Paula Badosa has enjoyed a really impressive clay-court season, beating Ash Barty in Charleston, reaching the semi-finals in Madrid and then winning in Belgrade. It’s all in danger of ending with a whimper here, the fourth double-fault a lowlight as she hands over three break points. She saves the first, but a forehand down the line is just wide, and Zidansek is now in charge of this match.
Second set: Zidansek 7-5, 2-1 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Zidansek holds to 15, sealed with another forehand winner, struck from a lofty angle deep into the far corner.
Second set: *Zidansek 7-5, 1-1 Badosa (*denotes next server) A big game for Badosa, who has lost three games in a row and still seems distracted by the umpire’s call that started the run. She stops the losing run here, and we stay on serve.
Second set: Zidansek 7-5, 1-0 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Zidansek was the better player in that first set, and continues to push Badosa around the court, securing the hold by stepping in behind her serve and wrongfooting her opponent.
If you’re just joining us (I’ve always wanted to say that …) it’s been a cracking match so far, with Zidansek bouncing back brilliantly after going a double-break down. Badosa has not quite found top gear but it’s been high-quality stuff, short on the nerves and unforced errors you might expect from two players in their first slam quarter-final.
Tamara Zidansek wins the first set 7-5!
First set: *Zidansek 7-5 Badosa (*denotes next server) Badosa powers to 30-love, only for Zidansek to hit back with a looping forehand return. That punchy, precise forehand gets her to 30-all, and then a set point as Badosa fails to chase her down. Badosa saves the first but presents another when an awkward overhead effort goes wide. This time, Zidansek takes it when her opponent nets!
First set: Zidansek 6-5 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Second serve is a weak spot for both players, and Badosa is all over it here, creaming it back down the line. Stepping off the baseline, she has a routine volley – but shanks it long! She shakes it off, winning a scrappy rally to set up deuce. Badosa thinks she’s found the line with a passing shot, and lets out a yell – only for the umpire to overturn the call. Zidansek secures the hold with a lovely long-range drop shot.
First set: *Zidansek 5-5 Badosa (*denotes next server) Badosa is under pressure at 15-30 down but Zidansek gifts her a point with an unforced error. From there, an almighty heave into the corner and a low, skidding volley get Badosa over the line.
First set: Zidansek 5-4 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Zidansek quickly moves to 40-15, but an unstoppable cross-court backhand gets Badosa back in the game. A rare unforced error takes us to deuce, where we are treated to the match’s best rally so far – won by Zidansek with a double-handed, cross-court backhand that clips the line! Zidansek leads for the first time.
First set: *Zidansek 4-4 Badosa (*denotes next server) New balls on the Badosa serve, and Zidansek fires her seventh forehand winner. Badosa digs in, applying plenty of side spin to her first serve, but Zidansek secures the break with a couple of zipping volleys that her opponent can’t handle. It’s the sixth break of serve in eight games!
First set: Zidansek 3-4 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Badosa turns up the pace and carves out another break point, which she takes with a crunching forehand that Zidansek can’t retrieve.
This isn’t the freestyle poetry, by the way. Or is it?
First set: *Zidansek 3-3 Badosa (*denotes next server) Not any more! Quite a remarkable change of momentum in this first set; Badosa has lost her rhythm while Zidansek is timing her shots perfectly. She breaks back again, and we are back on serve.
First set: Zidansek 2-3 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Zidansek gets her first service hold, largely steering clear of Badosa’s fearsome forehand and stepping in behind her serve. She’s fought her way back into this, but Badosa still has a break.
First set: *Zidansek 1-3 Badosa (*denotes next server) She’s finding it tough on her own serve, so Zidansek senses the need to get after her opponent. An aggressive return game pays off, bringing up three break points, and she only needs one as Badosa goes long.
First set: Zidansek 0-3 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Zidansek can’t really match Badosa for pace early on, so has to find a different approach, mixing up her angles nicely. The pressure tells at deuce, Zidansek netting a forehand and then getting quickly overpowered in a rally. It’s been a flying start from Paula Badosa.
First set: *Zidansek 0-2 Badosa (*denotes next server) Badosa has started really well here, cruising through her first service game and looking much more comfortable than her opponent. Early days, though.
First set: Zidansek 0-1 Badosa* (*denotes next server) Zidansek makes a nervy start on serve and presents Badosa with an early break point. She doesn’t take the first chance but a firm forehand sets up another, taken with a backhand down the line.
The players are out and warming up on a sunny Court Philippe-Chatrier. Carlos Ramos is the umpire; you might remember him from the 2018 US Open final. In other news, it appears that due to some pretty widespread technical problems, you’re probably not able to read this blog just now. At last, a chance to try out some of my freestyle poetry …
The first women’s quarter-final gets under way shortly. Let’s learn a little more about the two players involved.
Tamara Zidansek is the world No 85, and the true outsider of the four. The Slovenian had never been past the second round at a slam before this run, which began with a first-round comeback win over the No 6 seed, Bianca Andreescu. Zidansek has played in and lost two WTA Tour finals, both on clay, most recently in Colombia last month.
Her opponent, Paula Badosa, was promoted to No 33 seed when Alison Riske withdrew. The former junior French Open champion is a rising star on clay, beating Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko on a run to the fourth round here in 2020. While her path to the quarters was eased by Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal, the Spaniard still had to overcome former finalist Marketa Vondrousova to reach the last eight.
The quarter-finals begin at Roland Garros and while the biggest names feature later today or tomorrow, we start with a fascinating four-way battle to reach new heights. In the bottom half of the women’s draw, four players remain: Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek, Spain’s Paula Badosa, Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina and her Russian doubles partner, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Of the quartet, only Pavlyuchenkova has reached a grand slam quarter-final before, and now one of them will be in the final on Saturday. Experience arguably makes Pavlyuchenkova the favourite but in truth, all four women will fancy their chances. Zidansek and Badosa are first up on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Later on, Alexander Zverev looks to continue his impressive form against the only man outside the top 10 seeds to reach the quarters: Spanish youngster Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. In the evening session Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Daniil Medvedev, the No 2 seed who had never won a match here before this year.