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Unseeded debutante Podoroka makes French Open history

TOURNAMENT first timer Nadia Podoroka, who is No.131 in the world, knocked out third-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4 to become the first qualifier in the Open Era to reach the French Open women’s semi-finals on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old, unseeded for the tournament, needed just 79 minutes to complete her victory, and tossed her racquet in disbelief as she secured her place in the tournament’s history books.

Podoroska is the first woman from Argentina to make the last four in Paris since Paola Suarez achieved that feat in 2004.

Five-time Roland-Garros semi-finalist and 1990 US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini was the first to take to Twitter to congratulate her compatriot, who is enjoying a sensational 2020, amassing 43 wins and just six losses, across all levels.

“It’s a little bit difficult to speak now after the match, my English is not so good, but thank you everybody for the support, I’m very, very happy,” Podoroska, who was facing a top-20 player for the first time in her career, told the official Roland Garros website.

“We did a very good job with my coaches during quarantine, I think that’s why I’m here today.”

Podoroska added a few words in Spanish for her fans back home. She said she knows things are tough in Argentina with the pandemic and that it’s an honour for her to try and bring some happiness to the people back home with her achievement.

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