Karolina Muchova stopped resurgent former French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her tracks with a 7-5, 6-2 victory on Tuesday to march into the Roland Garros semi-finals for the first time in her career.
In the last four, Czech Republic’s Muchova will play second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus or Ukrainian former world number three Elina Svitolina who will meet in a politically-charged quarter-final later in the day.
“I don’t know what to say, it’s been an incredible two weeks and I’m glad I’m still in the competition,” Muchova said.
“I will for sure watch the match (between Sabalenka and Svitolina), I’m not sure if I will watch it live but I’m sure it will be another great match in two days.”
Muchova has largely flown under the radar in Paris this year after she stunned eighth seed Maria Sakkari in the opening round and the unseeded 26-year-old began brightly in front of a sparse Court Philippe Chatrier crowd with an early break.
But Pavlyuchenkova, who has fallen to 333 in the world after a knee injury kept her out of action for seven months last year, stayed within touching distance with a tight hold and sprung to life in the next game to draw level at 3-3.
After the pair exchanged breaks again, Muchova pinned her 31-year-old Russian opponent back with some deep groundstrokes to bag the opening set without fuss and made early inroads in the next as Pavlyuchenkova faded under the midday sun.
Muchova appeared more comfortable in the second set and built a commanding 5-1 lead before Pavlyuchenkova showed some signs of resistance.
But there was no comeback on the cards as Muchova closed out the match on serve, celebrating the victory when Pavlyuchenkova fired a shot wide.
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