World number 131 Nadia Podoroska says she “doesn’t want to wake up” after a dream French Open run continued with a quarter-final victory over third seed Elina Svitolina.
Podoroska beat Svitolina 6-2 6-4 and now faces Pole Iga Swiatek, who won 6-3 6-1 against Italian Martina Trevisan.
The Argentine, 23, dropped to 508th in the world in 2018 and could not afford to travel to some tournaments.
“It is a bit difficult for me to speak,” Podoroska said on court.
“I don’t want to wake up,” she later told a news conference.
“The toughest part for me was two or three years ago. I had too many injuries. My ranking dropped.
“I was eight months out of the tour. Then I didn’t have the money to start playing tournaments.”
Podoroska’s run in Paris will guarantee her at least $501,120 (£387,288). She had won £233,009 during her career until this tournament.
Podoroska broke Ukrainian Svitolina’s serve four times en route to the first set. Svitolina was 4-3 up with a break in the second, but could not keep Podoroska at bay as the underdog fought back and converted match point at the third time of asking.
Podoroska had never won a main-draw match at a Grand Slam before this campaign in Paris and was facing a top-20 opponent for the first time in her career.
Svitolina, by contrast, is a former junior French Open champion and made the quarter-finals as a 20-year-old in 2015.
But Podoroska made light of the difference in experience, deploying the drop-shot to good effect and hitting 30 winners to Svitolina’s eight.
Teenager Swiatek marches on
The Argentine faces another tough test in the guise of world number 54 Swiatek, who followed up her shock win over top seed Simona Halep with an impressive victory against world 159 Trevisan to move into her first Grand Slam semi-final.
The 19-year-old 2018 Wimbledon junior champion has gradually built her reputation in the past three Grand Slams, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, the third round of the US Open and now the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
She found herself 3-1 down in the first set before fighting back to take the set, and made it eight games on the spin to move into a 3-0 lead in the second set.
Trevisan earned a break back but dropped serve twice more as Swiatek eased to another win at this French Open without dropping a set.
Another day in paradise for Collins
Earlier in the day, American Danielle Collins booked the final spot in the French Open women’s quarter-finals with victory over Ons Jabeur in their rain-delayed encounter.
The pair had been scheduled to play on Monday and did emerge for a warm-up and coin toss after waiting for several hours because of bad weather, only for the match to be called off.
They returned in much better conditions on Tuesday, with Collins triumphing 6-4 4-6 6-4 over the Tunisian 30th seed.
She will face Sofia Kenin on Wednesday.
Collins has won all three of her previous matches against compatriot Kenin, who is the Australian Open champion and the fourth seed at Roland Garros.
Collins had led by a set and a break against fellow 26-year-old Jabeur before the Tunisian fought back by winning five games in a row on her way to taking the second set and forcing a decider.
But when Jabeur double-faulted for the first time to hand Collins match point and then sent a forehand into the net, the American lay down on the Philippe Chatrier clay in delight and relief.
“I felt like I was in the driver’s seat until 6-4 3-0, but she’s tricky and she served really well and she hit drop shots that I hadn’t expected,” she said.
“I just had to dig it out. I lost my way there a bit, I just needed to stay positive.”
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