French Open: Jasmine Paolini halts projected Elena Rybakina-Aryna Sabalenka semifinal

Paolini stunned Rybakina to reach the French Open semifinal.

by Dzevad Mesic
French Open: Jasmine Paolini halts projected Elena Rybakina-Aryna Sabalenka semifinal
© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

No. 12 seed Jasmine Paolini has reached her first Grand Slam semifinal after stunning fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina in the French Open quarterfinal. 

Paolini, who won her first WTA 1000 title in Dubai earlier this year, missed out on a great chance to close out the match against Rybakina in two sets but remained calm and eventually sealed a 6-2 4-6 6-4 win. 

After easily winning the first set, Paolini was three times up by a break in the second set. But Rybakina refused to quit and somehow ended up stealing the set and forcing a decider.

Considering Rybakina's resume, many players would probably experience a major collapse after failing to close out the match against the 2022 Wimbledon champion in such a devastating way. But not Paolini, who didn't panic. 

Jasmine Paolini
Jasmine Paolini© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

And now, Paolini awaits the winner of the match between Aryna Sabalenka and Mirra Andreeva. 

How Paolini beat Rybakina?

When the match started, it was Paolini who was pretty much dictating the play and controlling everything as the Italian broke Rybakina in the first and seventh games en route to easily winning the opener. Also, it should be noted that Paolini break points in all of Rybakina's service games in the first set but just didn't realize two break points in the third game and another break point in the fifth game.

At the start of the second set, Paolini claimed an early break but Rybakina managed to get it back after earning and converting her first break point in the fourth game. However, Paolini kept pressing Rybakina and got another break in the seventh game. 

Down by a set and a break, Rybakina impressively responded with back-to-back breaks in the eighth and 10th games to overturn the deficit and force a decider.

In those moments, it looked like all of the momentum was on Rybakina's side and that she would go on to complete a big comeback win.

But when the third set started, Paolini continued playing her game and she twice went up by a break in the decider but the Kazakh twice got the break back. 

Then in the ninth game, Paolini got her third break of the set for a 5-4 lead, and with a chance to serve out for the match in the following, the Italian managed to do so after converting her first match point.

Jasmine Paolini Elena Rybakina Aryna Sabalenka