PARIS, France - German veteran Laura Siegemund sealed her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal berth on Monday at the French Open by virtue of a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Spain's Paula Badosa.
After being pushed to three sets in each of her last two matches against compatriot Julia Goerges and No.13 seed Petra Martic, reigning US Open doubles champion Siegemund battled back from a 5-3 deficit in the opening set against the Spaniard on Court Simonne-Mathieu, winning four straight games to steal the opener and never trailed again from there.
"It's exciting to come so far. It was always my dream to be in the second week of a Slam," the German said after the match.
"We just spoke about it with my boyfriend in the US Open. It was one big goal for me to make it in singles into the second week of a Slam. That's where I see myself. That's where I want to be. I'm glad I'm making that come true now."
A contrast of styles was ensured as the two unseeded players took to the court, both already in the midst of a best-ever Grand Slam performance. Siegemund was in fact the first to break serve in the match, moving ahead 2-1 in the opener.
The 22-year-old Spaniard, a victor over both Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko earlier in the tournament, nonetheless battled back to win 15 of the next 22 points across four of the next five games to wrestle her own lead.
The lone game that went to the German's ledger over that stretch was not without adversity, as she saved two break points to level at 3-3, but she later lost eight straight points to fall behind by a break.
Nonetheless, Badosa proved unable to reach set point herself as a deuce game got Siegemund back on serve, and the German ultimately won six straight games to flip command of the match.
As the match wore on, the Spaniard also received a medical timeout and treatment on her lower back, and only won four points on return in the second set.
"I think I played very up and down at the beginning of the set, couldn't kind of find my groove and consistency. Her game was good at the beginning. I think she started well, started to serve well. She has a lot of spin in her ball so I kind of needed some time to adjust to her length and spin. It took me a long time to find my groove," Siegemund said.
"I didn't get angry when things weren't going my way, where there would have been a lot of reasons to get angry. I had a lot of chances. I had a lot of errors where I was dominating the point but didn't execute well.
"I tried to work it out and I did. She gave me some chances the end of the first set and I took them. Then in the second was a little bit better. I served much better. She didn't serve well any more, I think also some problems probably with the back. I think we were both kind of struggling but I kept it together better."
The victory earns Siegemund four consecutive main-draw victories for first time since she won the biggest title of her career at the 2017 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she knocked off three consecutive Top 10 players, then-World No.9 Svetlana Kuznetsova, then-World No.3 Karolina Pliskova and then-World No.4 Simona Halep, en route to victory on home soil.
After that triumph, the German never had an opportunity to showcase her clay-court prowess at the peak of her powers, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee later that spring in Nürnberg.
"Clay is my favorite surface," she added. "I feel like there's also more in it for me. I want to take it one step at a time. Truly excited to be in the quarters. Also still in the zone. I try to have more than that, even.
"I'm relaxed. I'm happy that I got through this difficult day today. I'm not relaxed because the seeds are out. I like to play big names and try to beat them. I'm just happy with how I get through.
"Of course, there are lots of other players now in this tournament in my position that were a surprise. They got really far. They try to get further."
Off to her first Grand Slam quarter finals in Paris! Even Paula Badosa could not stop Porsche Team Germany player @laurasiegemund. Great match, Laura!— Porsche Tennis (@PorscheTennis) October 5, 2020
🔜Next up: Defending Porsche Grand Prix Champion Petra Kvitova.#porschetennis pic.twitter.com/JVeTJlkt5j
Now fully resurgent and ranked World No.66, the 32-year-old former Top 30 player advances to face No.7 seed Petra Kvitova, who dispatched China's Zhang Shuai on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
"I kind of like to play on Chatrier because you know when you play, apart from maybe matches before you, but you know the conditions a little bit better. Out there it's very different every day. Wind, rain. Also today there were some phases where it rained pretty hard, like almost if it goes more then you would have to stop, all that stuff. Not unhappy about going into Chatrier and having the roof if we need to.
"Petra is a really tough opponent, no question about it. It will be totally different of all the matches I have played here so far. I played also more against clay court players, more with spin and very tactical. She's not like that. She serves very well. There is no second chances in rallies with her.
"That will be different and I'm looking forward to it."