Podoroska's dream run in Paris continues

FILE PHOTO - Lima 2019 - Tennis - Women's Singles Gold Medal Final - Center Court, Lima, Peru - August 4, 2019. Argentina's Nadia Podoroska in action with Caroline Dolehide of the U.S. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

PARIS (Reuters) - Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska continued her dream run at the French Open with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to reach the fourth round on Friday.

The 23-year-old from Rosario, ranked 131st in the world, was in total command against Slovakia’s Schmiedlova who had taken out former world number ones Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka.

Podoroska, whose great grand parents hailed from Ukraine, is the first woman from Argentina to reach the last 16 in Paris since Gisela Dulko in 2011.

It has been an incredible year for Podoroska who was outside the world’s top 250 in January and who is playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for only the second time.

“I didn’t expect these results so I’m very happy,” Podoroska, who has now won six matches here including three in qualifying, told reporters.

“I had a very clear strategy today. The first few games were very hard physically but I stayed there. After the first set I was very solid and stayed with my plan.”

After years grinding out a meagre living on the lower-tier ITF circuit, she has guaranteed herself 189,000 euros for reaching the fourth round, by far her biggest pay day.

“It’s a relief, now I can relax a little, I’ve been suffering a bit the last year,” she said.

With either 114th-ranked Czech Barbora Krejcikova or Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, ranked 157th, up next she now has a golden opportunity to reach the quarter-finals.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis