Qualifier Camila Giorgi took out the last remaining seed in the Viking International at the quarterfinal stage, overcoming No.1 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(5), 0-6, 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes.
A big-hitting battle saw several wild scoreboard fluctuations, but it was the Italian who came from a break down to take both the first and third sets, recovering from a 25-minute whitewash in between. The result moves Giorgi into her first semifinal since Palermo 2020, and first at 500 level since Tokyo 2018.
Having already defeated defending champion Karolina Pliskova in the first round, Giorgi has now scored two Top 10 wins in the same tournament for the first time in her career, taking her overall total to 11.
The final numbers showed Giorgi keeping a tighter ship than Sabalenka, tallying up 23 winners to the Belarusian's 29 but also substantially fewer unforced errors, 34 to 43. But the match was decided by the timing of both players' peaks and dips, both of which remained unpredictable throughout.
An authoritative start by Sabalenka saw her leap out to a 4-2 lead. But Giorgi somehow survived a service game that contained three aces and three double faults, then immediately broke back courtesy of a pair of Sabalenka double faults. Sabalenka, now chasing the scoreboard, found unreturnable serves to fend off the first five set points she faced - but the moment Giorgi got a chance to close out the set on her own delivery in the tiebreak she took it.
Sabalenka, runner-up in Eastbourne to Caroline Wozniacki in 2018, roared back in a second set that flashed past. The World No.4 reduced her error count to three as Giorgi's mounted to 12, and accordingly Sabalenka would level the score for the loss of just nine points in the whole second act.
Neither player managed to seize real momentum through the deciding set, which saw seven breaks of serve in total. Giorgi, whose overall first serve percentage was a mere 45%, found herself punished for this at the start of the set, as ferocious returning put Sabalenka up 3-1.
But the World No.75 was the one who found a few touches of brilliance in the middle of the set on her backhand to turn proceedings in her favour, taking a 4-3 lead. Two double faults at that juncture took her total to 11, but despite breaking back for 4-4 Sabalenka could not build on the lifeline. Instead, the final two games saw Sabalenka lose almost all control on her forehand to end the match in error-strewn fashion.
Giorgi will next face Anett Kontaveit, who came back from the brink of defeat against qualifier Viktorija Golubic for the second time in a month. The Estonian won 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 despite Golubic serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set.
Kontaveit had also saved a match point en route to beating Golubic 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-0 in the first round of Roland Garros, and now owns a dominant 6-0 lead in their head-to-head.