Trevisan holds her nerve to reach maiden Slam semi

 - Simon Cambers

Italian overcomes battling Fernandez to advance in Paris

Martina Trevisan, Roland Garros 2022, quarter-final© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Martina Trevisan became the first Italian woman to reach the semi-finals at Roland-Garros since 2013 as she beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3 in a roller-coaster clash on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old, a quarter-finalist in 2020 when she was a qualifier, couldn't close out match point at 5-4 in the second set but recovered her composure in the third to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final, and post a 10th consecutive victory.

The left-hander will play the winner of the all-American battle between former runner-up Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff for a place in the final.

Story of the match

In the first Grand Slam quarter-final between two left-handers since 2014 when Lucie Safarova played Ekaterina Makarova at Wimbledon, it was Trevisan who settled first.

The winner of her first tour title the week before Roland-Garros, in Rabat, the world No.59 broke in the opening game, a double fault from the Canadian teenager handing her the perfect start.

Using heavy topspin and changing the pace and trajectory of the ball cleverly, Trevisan led 3-1 and though Fernandez, last year’s US Open runner-up, held for 3-2, she then called the trainer for treatment to her right foot, adding some bandaging in a medical timeout.

The 19-year-old was clearly in discomfort and Trevisan broke again to lead 5-2. She missed three set points when trying to serve it out but got across the line after 41 minutes.

Martina Trevisan, Roland-Garros 2022, Simple Dames, 1/4 de FinaleNicolas Gouhier / FFT

Fernandez dug deep to try to turn the match around, showing incredible resilience to fight back in the second set despite the problems with her foot.

The Canadian broke for 3-1 but was pegged back immediately and the two women got to 4-4 before the Italian broke again to lead 5-4 and have a chance to serve out the match.

At 5-4, 40-30 she had a match point but the nerves were obvious and Fernandez came alive, slapping winners to break back. Two holds later, they were into a tiebreak and as Trevisan faltered, Fernandez took advantage to force a decider.

The momentum was with the teenager, who went into the final set with a 7-2 deciding-set record in 2022, but Trevisan had other ideas. Bouncing back immediately, she raced to a 4-0 lead.

Fernandez got one of the breaks back but Trevisan broke again, only to show nerves as she tried to serve it out once more, handing Fernandez a lifeline and the Canadian held to love to make it 5-3.

This time, the nerves were still there but Trevisan held them in check, flicking a forehand cross-court for a winner to clinch a famous victory.

Leylah Fernandez Roland-Garros 2022 quarter-final©Julien Crosnier / FFT

Key stats

For Trevisan, it was all about the importance of the first serve. When she landed it, she won 71 per cent of the points; when she missed it, she was successful in only 31 per cent, Fernandez being more aggressive on the return.

The Italian was also more successful on break points, taking 7/14, compared to 4/10 for Fernandez.

And the Trevisan forehand was deadly, too. In all, 36 of her 49 winners came on that side, her footwork to get round the backhand exceptional throughout.

What the players said

"In the first match point, I felt a little more nervous. I thought too much, that I was in the semi-finals. But the important thing is that after that point I accepted the situation, it was normal to feel that emotion because it was my second quarter-final, but I was very close to the semi-final, which was the first time for me. So I accepted the situation," said the 28-year-old Trevisan on court.

"The trophy in Rabat for me was very important. It was an incredible week, the first of my career, so it had very important emotion for me, I came here with a lot of energy, I wasn’t tired."

On being inspired by former Roland-Garros winner Francesca Schiavone and former US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, Trevisan said: "I am so happy they are both here, I saw Flavia and Francesca here yesterday because they’re playing the Legends Tournament. They were and they are an inspiration to me.”