Karolina Muchová has advanced to her first Grand Slam final after knocking off world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka at the French Open.

The semifinal saw a tight battle, as Muchová went up 7-6 (7-5) in the first set over Sabalenka, taking the tiebreak. It was Sabalenka’s first dropped set in the French Open.

But the 25-year-old Belarusian did not go quietly. The second set went also went to a tiebreak, but Sabalenka forced a third set with a 7-6 (7-5) win.

While Sabalenka surged to a 5-2 lead, Muchová fought back, saving a match point at 40-15, holding serve and breaking Sabalenka before winning three straight games and pulling even at 5-5. From there, Muchová took a 6-5 lead, and then went up 40-0 in the final game before winning the match 7-5.

“I don’t really know what happened, the atmosphere, the people are just pushing me all the matches,” Muchová said on the court after her win. “It’s unbelievable, I just try to keep fighting and it worked. I really don’t know what happened, I’m so happy.”

Sabalenka entered the match having won her last seven matches when losing the first set. The most recent of those came in the Australian Open final, which she won to take her first Grand Slam title.

Muchová is the first person to beat Sabalenka in a Grand Slam this year. The 26-year-old from Czech Republic will face No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), in the other semifinal.

Wednesday’s French Open lineup featured upsets and rematches, as World No. 1 Iga Swiatek and No. 6 Coco Gauff met in the French Open for the first time since last year’s final.

Swiatek beat Gauff in straight sets once again, this time taking a 6-4, 6-2 win.

“I feel pretty satisfied with my game, I’m happy I was able to make it in two sets,” Swiatek told the Tennis Channel afterwards. “In the first set, in important moments, I was the one that was more solid. It wasn’t easy, especially with the wind today, but I’m happy I’m into the semifinal.”

The Polish star has won 14 straight sets against Gauff and owns a 7-0 career record in matches against the American teenager. Swiatek has also won 12 straight matches on the clay courts at Roland Garros, elevating her career win-loss record at the tournament to 26-2.

With the win, Swiatek advances to her third French Open semifinal. Each time she’s reached the semifinal previously at Roland Garros, she’s won the title.

But the three-time major champion will face a tough test Thursday in Beatriz Haddad Maia, who upset Ons Jabeur in three sets on Wednesday to become the first Brazilian woman since 1968 to reach a Grand Slam semifinal. In their only previous meeting last summer, Haddad Maia upset Swiatek on the hard courts of Toronto.

Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina was booed at the French Open on Tuesday after refusing to shake the hand of her Belarusian opponent Aryna Sabalenka.

Sabalenka won the Grand Slam quarterfinal matchup in straight sets, then went to the net to shake the hand of her opponent. But Svitolina did not respond in kind, instead offering a thumbs up before she exited the court.

While Svitolina refused the handshake as an act of protest against the war in her home country, fans took issue with her snub of Sabalenka.

The lack of handshake is not a new response for Svitolina, who has refused to shake the hand of any Russian or Belarusian opponent since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war. And she isn’t the only Ukrainian player to do so.

“We are Ukrainians, we all unite for one goal, for the goal of winning this war, and we do everything what is regarding on this topic,” she said on June 2. “I’m Ukrainian. I’m standing for my country. I’m doing everything possible in the way to support. … I’m representing my country. I have a voice. I’m standing with Ukraine.”

When asked about the boos, Svitolina said that she doesn’t pay attention to it that much.

“I’m not going to please everyone. I have my position and I stick to it,” she said. “I’m not going to sell my country for people’s sympathy.”

When asked if she believed that Sabalenka going to wait at the net for a handshake “inflamed” the situation, Svitolina agreed that it had.

“I don’t know what she was waiting for at the net, because my statements were clear enough about the handshake. I was expecting boos, it was not a surprise for me,” she said.

Russian player Daria Kasatkina followed her match against Svitolina earlier in the tournament with a thumbs up and was booed for it. Kasatkina has been outspoken in her criticism of the war, and last month expressed sympathy for Ukrainian tennis players who refuse to shake her hand following matches.

“Really thankful for her position that she took. She’s [a] really brave person to say it publicly, that not so many players did,” Svitolina said after their matchup. “She’s a brave one.”

Following the match, Kasatkina called out the crowd for their booing on Twitter.

“Leaving Paris with a very bitter feeling. All this days, after every match I’ve played in Paris I always appreciate and thanked crowd for support and being there for the players,” Kasatkina tweeted Monday. “But yesterday I was booed for just being respectful on my opponent’s position not to shake hands.

“Me and Elina showed respect to each other after a tough match but leaving the court like that was the worse part of yesterday. Be better, love each other. Don’t spread hate. Try to make this world better.”

Coco Gauff advanced to the French Open quarterfinals for the third consecutive year with a straight-sets win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

With the win, the 19-year-old reaches her fourth career Grand Slam quarterfinal, where she will face No. 1 Iga Swiatek. Swiatek earned a 6-3, 6-1 win over Gauff in the 2022 championship match at Roland-Garros.

In Monday’s match against Schmiedlova, Gauff overcame a scraped knee during a tense first set and went on to claim a 7-5, 6-2 victory.

While Gauff came out on top in her fourth-round match, fellow U.S. star Sloane Stephens fell to No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, on Sunday.

Sabalenka raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, and while Stephens battled back to force a tiebreak, the 25-year-old Belarusian still prevailed to reach her first French Open quarterfinal.

“I think it was just a few key moments which I didn’t finish right, and then she started to believe in herself a little bit more,” Sabalenka said. “People started to support her more. She kind of played with that crush and was like going for the shots. I think she played unbelievable tennis.”

The Belarusian isn’t the only one to make her first trip to the quarterfinals. Beatriz Haddad Maia advanced to her first quarterfinals by taking down Sara Sorribes Tormo, becoming the first Brazilian to reach the French Open quarterfinals since 1968.

The three-set match between Haddad Maia and Sorribes Tormo lasted 3 hours and 41 minutes, the longest of the season and third-longest women’s match ever at Roland-Garros.

Ons Jabeur is also making her first French Open quarterfinal after defeating Bernarda Pera in the fourth round. Including this tournament, Jabeur has made the quarterfinals in each Grand Slam in her career. And Karolína Muchová is also appearing her first French Open quarterfinal.

2023 French Open: Quarterfinals

  • Tuesday, June 6
    • Karolína Muchová vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova — 5 a.m. ET
    • Elina Svitolina vs. Aryna Sabalenka — 6:30 a.m. ET
  • Wednesday, June 7
    • Coco Gauff vs. Iga Swiatek — TBD
    • Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Ons Jabeur — TBD
  • All matches will be televised on the Tennis Channel.

U.S. tennis player Sloane Stephens believes racist abuse directed toward athletes is getting worse, particularly online, she said after her first-round win Monday at the French Open.

Such racism is something she has had to deal with throughout her career, the former U.S. Open champion said following her 6-0, 6-4 victory over Karolina Pliskova.

“Yes, it’s obviously been a problem my entire career,” Stephens said. “It has never stopped. If anything, it’s only gotten worse.”

Players at the French Open have access to an online tool designed to block harassment and hate speech, but Stephens has not used it. She does block certain key words on Instagram and take other measures to protect herself, but even still, abuse slips through the cracks, she said.

The French Open is the first of the four Grand Slams to introduce the tool. French Tennis Federation CEO Caroline Flaissier said players’ mental health is a “priority” for the tournament.

Following the US Open in 2021, Stephens also spoke out about the abusive social media messages that she receives, noting that the hate was “exhausting and never ending.”

Stephens isn’t the only player who has had to deal with harassment in her sport. Last year, Naomi Osaka was the subject of heckling at Indian Wells. Both Serena and Venus Williams boycotted the tournament beginning in 2001 over racial abuse and heckling, then abstained from the tournament for 14 years.

“To be honest, I’ve been heckled before, it doesn’t really bother me, but being heckled here, I watched a video of Venus and Serena getting heckled here, if you’ve never watched it you should watch it, and I don’t know why, but it got into my head and it got replayed a lot,” Osaka said at the time.

In 2021, the FBI was present at the tournament to monitor social media abuse.

According to Stephens, the abuse online has reached the point in the United States where the FBI is investigating allegations, although she did not specify a case.

“I mean, obviously when there is FBI investigations going on with what people are saying to you online, it’s very serious,” she said. “Obviously it’s been something that I have dealt with my whole career. I think that, like I said, it’s only continued to get worse, and people online have the free rein to say and do whatever they want behind fake pages, which is obviously very troublesome.

“It’s something I have had to deal with my whole career and something I will continue to deal with, I’m sure. That’s that.”