Karolina Pliskova downs French hope Caroline Garcia to reach semi-finals
Karolina Pliskova v Caroline Garcia 7-6(3) 6-4

Karolina Pliskova downs French hope Caroline Garcia to reach semi-finals

Karolina Pliskova moved into the French Open semi-finals with a 7-6(3) 6-4 win over Caroline Garcia.

The second seed will seize the world number one ranking from Angelique Kerber – a shock first round casualty at Roland Garros – with victory over Simona Halep in the last four.

Garcia was France’s last hope in the men’s and women’s singles draw, but was second best in the big moments against her Czech rival.

The 23-year-old’s serve deserted her in the first set tie-break, winning just one point of five, and again in the 10th game of the second set as she was broken to concede the match.

"So far still before this tournament I was struggling on clay with almost everything. Didn't have my weapons on my side and the movement was terrible," Pliskova told a news conference.

"I don't think it's better, but somehow I'm just winning."

Her improvement in the clay-court major bears similarities with the career of Russia's Maria Sharapova, a self-described 'cow on ice' on the red dirt who still managed to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup twice.

Pliskova is taking baby steps.

"Today I can finally say I felt a little bit better on the court compared to the last matches," she said. "Yeah, the serve was good, which is also important."

Now the 25-year-old is one win away from becoming world number one next week.

"Coming into this tournament, there were a few people who told me, You have to be in the final to be No. 1. I was like, there is no chance I make the final here," she said with a smile.

But Pliskova is almost there.

She had never made it past the second round here and, after sometimes struggling in previous rounds, she perfectly handled Garcia, who was looking to become the first Frenchwoman in the last four since Marion Bartoli in 2011.

Despite the swirling winds sweeping the court, Pliskova made only 13 unforced errors – one every two games – while Garcia hit 31.

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