Unheralded Karolina Muchova saved a match point as she stunned world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka to reach the French Open final on Thursday.
The 43rd-ranked Muchova will play her first Grand Slam final after knocking out Australian Open champion Sabalenka 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, ending the Belarusian’s 12-match winning run at majors.
She added Sabalenka to an impressive list of victims in Paris which included eighth seed Maria Sakkari in the first round and 2021 runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarterfinal.
Only three women ranked lower than Muchova have made the final before in Paris, including the then-teenaged Swiatek who was 54th when she claimed her maiden Grand Slam title in 2020.
Muchova saved two break points in the fourth game of the opener and then broke Sabalenka at 4-4 to leave herself serving for the set.
Sabalenka saved a set point as she broke back and then moved 5-4 ahead in the tie-break, but Muchova stood firm and the Czech seized her second chance by ripping a superb backhand down the line.
Muchova broke for a 2-0 lead in the second set only for Sabalenka to reply right away. The second seed nudged in front with a break for 4-3 but this time Muchova was quick to level.
However, she saved a match point in the eighth game before incredibly racing away with the last five games to claim a famous win after three hours and 13 minutes.