French Open: Swiatek ends Haddad Maia's dream run, reaches final

Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates after defeating Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia in the semifinal of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris on Thursday. Photo: AFP/Julien De Rosa

Paris: Defending champion Iga Swiatek felt the heat as she booked a French Open final spot for the third time in four years with a 6-2 7-6(7) win over Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia on Thursday.

The world number one found it tough going during the second set but when it came to the tiebreak, she produced her full array of shots to outwit Haddad Maia and set up a Saturday showdown with unseeded Czech Karolina Muchova.

Swiatek, who lifted the Suzanne Lenglen Cup last year and in 2020, will retain top spot in the WTA rankings after world number two Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus was knocked out earlier.

As fans waved a Polish 'Poland Garros' flag in stands that were half empty when the match started, Swiatek showed rare signs of frustrations but managed to hold it together when it mattered to prevail as the clock hit the 9pm mark.

The 14th seeded Haddad Maia, whose career has been hampered by multiple injuries and 10-month doping ban in 2019-20, had played four consecutive three-set matches to fight her way to the semi-finals but she finally met her match in Swiatek.

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