Nadia Podoroska ranked no. 131 only concentrated on doing her best in matches where she was always the inexperienced one among her peers. She dug deep and defeated the WTA's No. 5 Elina Svitolina in a straight set victory of 6-2, 6-4 at Roland Garros.
It was a fairytale tournament that Podoroska had no prediction on her result. "It's a little bit difficult for me to speak," Podoroska's emotions were starting to get the best of her. "Thank you everybody for your support.
I'm very happy."
Svitolina came into the French Open with 15 career titles
The No. 5 ranked concentrated on her competitor's present strategies to try winning the match. But the Ukrainian born-Argentina raised player became the first qualifier to make it through to the semis and her ranking will zoom from the 100s to 69 providng her access to more important tournaments along the way.
She showed her potential when she won over No. 3 Naomi Osaka at an ITF Mexican event this past March. She also had never won a Grand Slam draw match before entering Paris taking her one hour and 19 minutes to get the opening set of 6-2 over Svitolina.
This was their first meeting and Svitolina might not have felt pressure over being extravagant against Podoroska. The Qualifier was broken in her first game of the match but did well to then break Svitolina in each three service games winning the opening set in almost a half hour.
Elina Svitolina worked hard to get her spot at Roland Garros by taking 6 weeks off because of the lockdown in Switzerland where she was staying. But Podoroska remained a mystery to much of the tennis community until now. "She plays a big game and hasn't been here before" Tennis Channel commentator Chanda Rubin had eagerly said.
Svitolina hadn't lost a set the entire time at this Roland Garros but that all changed when Podoroska stepped on court. "She was dictating from the baseline," former champion and commentator Martina Navritilova had mentioned.
Nadia Podoroska went on her rampage, painting the lines, finding the open court and doing damage to Svitolina's determined game. The experienced Ukrainian gave it a valiant effort trying to earn her first trip to the French Open semifinal but it proved no contest as she slowly ran out of gas and Podoroska won with diligence and staying aggressive.
She consistently pulled out her tricks on court with drop shots and slices that Svitolina never prodicted or expected. She'd even saved the second match-point but couldn't defuse the Podoroska's mantra as the Argentine won the match 6-2, 6-4.
Svitolina was realistic at press conference time and said that qualifier or not, Podoroska was able to defeat higher ranked players so she deserves to go deep in tournaments. But Elina Svitolina kept it real as a veteran and said "For me, I don't look much further than the next round and it's very important to not focus on other people...I have my own way and that's what I'm trying to do."