Swiatek vs Podoroska French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

A highly unexpected French Open semifinal sees Polish teenager Iga Swiatek taking on Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska.

Iga Swiatek vs Nadia Podoroska is live from Roland Garros on Thursday 8 October, 3pm local/2pm BST

Iga Swiatek, just 19 years old, blew the French Open wide open when she ousted top seed Simona Halep, while Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska played her way through qualifying and stunned Elina Svitolina to earn her place in the semifinals.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

In what is completely uncharted territory for both women, who can seize the chance to make their first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Swiatek vs Podoroska live

French Open matches including Iga Swiatek vs Nadia Podoroska are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.

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3. Go to tennis > French Open Women > Swiatek vs Podoroska

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Swiatek vs Podoroska: Head-to-head

This is the first meeting between Iga Swiatek and Nadia Podoroska.

Swiatek vs Podoroska: Preview

There were many theories and predictions about what we would see at the French Open, but I don’t think anybody envisioned this semifinal – or that the women’s tournament would be the coming-out party for Poland’s Iga Swiatek.

Only two years removed from winning junior Wimbledon, Swiatek shot up the rankings as soon as she turned pro and first came to most of our attention when she reached the round of 16 at Roland Garros last year, only to lose to Simona Halep 1-6, 0-6. Again, though, I’m not sure anybody anticipated that a bit more than 12 months later she would be back in the round of 16, well and truly turning the tables on Halep and going on to make the semifinals.

What was truly impressive about Swiatek is not just the way she defeated Halep, but the way she took the court for her next match, not reeling from the biggest win of her career, but taking it all in her stride. She trailed early against Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan, herself an incredible story, but after going down 1-3, swiftly figured out the buttons to press and won 11 of the next 12 games for a 6-3, 6-1 victory. Swiatek has not only lost a set, she has lost just 20 games in five matches.

How has she done it? Well – she’s pretty good. Swiatek’s spinny forehand is more effective and powerful than you might imagine, and she uses it to construct points, relying on her touch and net skills to end them – not a problem when they’re as good as hers are, and when she is reliably winning an excellent percentage of points behind her first serve. She has been able to hit so many more winners than unforced errors because she is rarely pulled out of position (again, this has a lot to do with great serving), and has unfailingly dictated the terms of her matches.

Nadia Podoroska (Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

Will she be able to do the same thing against Podoroska? The Argentine qualifier, ranked outside the top 250 at the start of the year after a wrist injury derailed her rise up the rankings earlier in her career, is now 35-6 across all levels in 2020, and had beaten seven opponents to reach the quarterfinals, but based on the fact that she had never played a top-20 opponent, I thought she’d find herself out her depth against Svitolina.

Not so: It was the third seed, a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist, who floundered and looked completely lost as Podoroska pushed her around the court with her groundstrokes and showcased classic clay-court skills to finish the point. Svitolina was scathing about her own performance afterwards, and rightly so – she did not play at the level we would usually expect from her – but she was also given little opportunity to find her feet by Podoroska, who looked every inch a player who has racked up victory after victory in 2020.

How will things play out when Swiatek meets Podoroska? Well, Podoroska isn’t going to have things all her own way, not if Swiatek plays like she has been all tournament. A Grand Slam semifinal is a huge occasion, and a total unknown for both women, so there’s that dimension of uncertainty; but purely game-wise, Swiatek can meet Podoroska on her own terms when it comes to power, and she has so many ways to win points. A strong serving performance should see the Polish sensation into her first Grand Slam final.

Swiatek vs Podoroska: Prediction

Elina Svitolina, now the favourite to make the French Open final, is out to end the run of Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska in the quarterfinals.

Svitolina vs Podoroska is live from Roland Garros on Tuesday 6 October, 1pm local/12pm BST

The only seeded player remaining in the top half of the French Open draw, Elina Svitolina has earned a golden opportunity to make her first Roland Garros semifinal if she can impose her authority on Nadia Podoroska, a surprise quarterfinalist in Paris.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

Podoroska has been on a brilliant run, winning seven matches to make the main draw and then the last 16, but the world no. 131 has never so much as faced a top-20 player, let alone beaten one inside the top 10 – can she pull off the biggest surprise of this upset-filled Roland Garros yet?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Svitolina vs Podoroska live

French Open matches including Elina Svitolina vs Nadia Podoroska are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.

1. Click here to go to bet365
2. Sign in or open an account and deposit £5 or more
3. Go to tennis > French Open Women > Svitolina vs Podoroska

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Svitolina vs Podoroska: Head-to-head

Elina Svitolina and Nadia Podoroska have never played.

Svitolina vs Podoroska: Preview

Elina Svitolina has looked like a potential Grand Slam champion since the Ukrainian first established herself as a fixture inside the top 10 and started winning prestigious titles like the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and the WTA Finals – and when she made her first two Grand Slam quarterfinals at the French Open, Roland Garros looked like a likely place for her to claim her first crown. But she’s never had an opportunity like this to reach her first Grand Slam final, in conditions in which she should be so comfortable: There’s no Simona Halep or Serena Williams with a major advantage of experience over her waiting in the semifinals; she’s the only seeded player remaining in her half of the draw, and the only one with any experience of getting this far in Grand Slams.

I didn’t think Svitolina was playing very well at the start of the tournament – she was lucky to avoid any really threatening opponents, and still got bagelled by qualifier Renata Zarazua – but when she did face a genuine obstacle in the last 16 in the form of Caroline Garcia, who had beaten her in their last three meetings, she did something she’s been unable to do at times in previous majors: Lift her game to meet the occasion. Svitolina played her best match of the tournament in tricky, windy conditions to smother Garcia with relentless depth, serving well, keeping the crowd from becoming a factor as they had done when Garcia played Elise Mertens and above all giving away as few unforced errors as possible off the ground.

Nadia Podoroska (Photo by Rob Prange/DPPI/Icon Sportswire)

Svitolina’s 6-1, 6-3 win, in which she was broken twice but broke Garcia six times, sets up a quarterfinal clash with Nadia Podoroska, not a player with whom many were familiar before this tournament. Podoroska, 23 years old, was on her way into the top 150 back in 2017 but was derailed by injury and began the 2020 season as the world no. 258, winning her first 15 matches of the season at ITF level. Since the shutdown, Podoroska has successfully qualified for Palermo, made the semifinals of the Prague 125k event and now made her run at Roland Garros, beating Greet Minnen, Yulia Putintseva, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Barbora Krejcikova to reach the quarterfinals. She’s been impressive, but she hasn’t faced anybody of the calibre of Kenin and if the Ukrainian plays another relatively clean match, she should book her place in the semifinals in short order.

Svitolina vs Podoroska: Prediction