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French Open: Mirra Andreeva upsets Aryna Sabalenka, youngest in Slam semi since 1997

Mirra Andreeva, a 17-year-old Russian, upset No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka at the French Open to become the youngest Grand Slam semifinalist since Martina Hingis at the 1997 U.S. Open.

Andreeva rallied past Sabalenka, the two-time Australian Open champion, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4.

“Before the match, I was very nervous, and my goal was to win more games than I won in Madrid,” said Andreeva, referencing a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Sabalenka at a clay event earlier this spring.

In Thursday’s semifinals, she gets another player in her first major semifinal — 28-year-old Italian Jasmine Paolini.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | Broadcast Schedule

Andreeva also became the youngest player to beat a top-two player at a Slam since qualifier Jelena Dokic stunned top-seeded Hingis in the 1999 Wimbledon first round.

Andreeva turned heads last year by making the French Open third round and Wimbledon fourth round in her debut at each event.

She is ranked 38th and the youngest woman in the top 150 in the world.

Sabalenka received medical attention multiple times during the match, then reportedly didn’t hold a post-match press conference due to illness.

“I had a difficult time out there physically today,” she said in a provided quotes. “I have been very sick the last few days with some kind of stomach bug, so it’s been a challenge.”

Her streak of consecutive Grand Slam semifinals ends at six. Andreeva became the first player to win a set off her at a major this year in 12 total matches.

American Coco Gauff will supplant Sabalenka as the world No. 2 after the French Open, a career-high ranking. Gauff plays No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the early semifinal Thursday.

Paolini never made it past the second round of a Grand Slam before this year.

She ousted No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the semifinals.

“Today was the perfect day,” said the 5-foot-4 Paolini, who later Wednesday advanced to the women’s doubles semifinals with countrywoman Sara Errani.

Paolini was ranked No. 71 in the world at the start of spring 2023. She is now 15th and guaranteed to move into the top 10 after the French Open.

She began the year by making the fourth round of the Australian Open in January, then earned her biggest tournament title in February in Dubai.

“I step on court, and I say to myself that I have a chance to win the match,” she said. “Before, sometimes, for example, when I was playing against the top players, I was like, OK, I need a miracle to win this match. So I was already losing the match before even playing.”

Together, Andreeva and Paolini denied the French Open from becoming the first major to have the top four women’s seeds in the semifinals since 2009 Wimbledon. It last happened at the French Open in 1992.

Later Wednesday, No. 4 Alexander Zverev swept No. 11 Alex de Minaur in the last men’s quarterfinal. Zverev, who lost in the Roland Garros semifinals the last three years, gets No. 7 Casper Ruud on Friday.

NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock continue French Open coverage for the men’s and women’s semifinals and finals, starting Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.

The French Open is the final tournament in Paris Olympic tennis qualifying.