Usually the game’s big names like Nadal, Federer, Sharapova and Williams steal the spotlight at the French Open, the second of four Grand Slam tournaments. This year’s French Open, though, gives an unfamiliar name a chance to shine.
Timea Bacsinszky, No. 23 seed, has advanced to the French Open semifinals, the first time she has made it past the third round in a Grand Slam event. Bacsinszky, 25, showed impressive nerves of steel as she beat Alison van Uytvanck in straight sets of 6-4, 7-5.
It’s a remarkable story from an athlete who had almost given up on her sport, The New York Times reports. Bacsinskzy has only recently come back to the game after taking time off to pursue her studies in Switzerland. Back on the scene since 2013, Bacsinszky climbed her way to the top-100 players and recently broke top-15 after winning back-to-back tournaments in February and March. Her comeback’s greatest reward is now facing Serena Williams, No. 1 seed, in the semifinals. Serena easily defeated the tournament’s No. 17 seed, Sara Errani 6-1, 6-3.
Though Williams has won all their previous matches, Bacsinszky will not be easily nerved by their upcoming match. In her interview following the quarterfinals win, she says that when she steps out on the court she isn’t thinking of “who’s the favorite and who’s not the favorite” but simply how she must “find a pace to break the other one’s game.”
In the same interview when she was asked what she expects from the match, she answered “you don’t get to be playing a semifinal of a Grand Slam every day, so I really will just appreciate the moment.” She finishes the interview by acknowledging Williams’s past tournament successes and recognizes her as someone that plays quite well.”
The semifinals match between Bacsinszky and is scheduled to take place Thursday.