Sofia Kenin wins all-American French Open quarterfinal, gets Petra Kvitova in semis

Sofia Kenin
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Sofia Kenin won an all-American French Open quarterfinal, setting up a semifinal clash between the only women left who own major titles.

Kenin, the fourth seed and Australian Open champion, dispatched 57th-ranked Danielle Collins 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 on Wednesday to reach the final four.

She plays seventh-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova in Thursday’s semifinals. The other semifinal pits Pole Iga Swiatek (rank: 54) against Argentina Nadia Podoroska (rank: 131).

Earlier Tuesday, Kvitova swept 66th-ranked German Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3 to reach her first French Open semifinal in eight years.

Kvitova is 2-0 against Kenin, but both matches came before the 21-year-old American broke through in Melbourne last winter.

“I definitely feel like I have improved since Australia,” said Kenin, whose most notable result in 2019 was beating Serena Williams in the French Open third round (before losing the next match to eventual champion Ash Barty in three sets). “I love playing on the clay. I feel like I’m having a lot of confidence.”

In the men’s draw, Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas swept No. 13 Andrey Rublev of Russia 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 to make his second Slam semifinal. Tsitsipas gets top seed Novak Djokovic or No. 17 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain on Friday.

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Kenin said nerves will be the biggest factor against the 6-foot Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion.

“Obviously I’m not going to overpower her,” said Kenin, who is five inches shorter. “But I’ve got different things I can throw in to mix things up.”

It’s been emotional for Kvitova, who won her last two matches on Court Philippe Chatrier, where she returned to match play three years ago following a knife-wielding robber attack in her home.

Kvitova underwent nearly four hours of surgery on her primary left hand, which suffered nerve and tendon damage in the December 2016 attack.

“My memories, happy memories, when I made my comeback here 2017, when I step on the Philippe Chatrier, I couldn’t really imagine me to be in the quarterfinal of this Slam,” Kvitova said after shedding tears following her fourth-round victory Monday. “Everything just came back to me.”

Kvitova is best known for her grass-court success. Since her comeback, her best Slam result came on a hard court, reaching the 2019 Australian Open final.

“It’s been a miracle for me to make the semifinal here in Roland Garros,” she said of her 2012 run. “I wasn’t really the player who always ever succeed on the clay.”

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