Playing her third career quarterfinal at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Jelena Ostapenko advanced to her first semifinal with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Paula Badosa.
Ostapenko, seeded No.20, will next face the winner of the Top 10-quarterfinal between World No.1 Iga Swiatek and reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
Ostapenko had previously reached the quarterfinals in 2018 and 2021 but lost three-setters at that hurdle on both occasions. In her third appearance in this round, she held off a mid-match surge from former World No.2 Badosa to break new ground at the Foro Italico, and reach the seventh WTA 1000 semifinal in her career.
Words from the winner: After the match, Ostapenko recognized that personal milestone that she achieved.
"This is one of my favorite tournaments. I really love playing here," Ostapenko said. "I was never was more than in quarterfinals, and now, I'm finally in the semifinals.
"Paula is a great player and I know she is such a fighter, so I expected a tough battle. The most important thing was to fight for every point. The match is only over when you shake hands, so even though some points and games didn't go my way, I just managed it. I think I played well in deciding moments."
How the match was won: A quick start for Ostapenko ultimately gave way to a smooth finish. Ostapenko broke Badosa in her first three service games of the first set and won five of the last six games from 2-2 in the decider. With the 1 hour, 47-minute victory, Ostapenko improved her career head-to-head record against Badosa to 2-2.
Ostapenko hit 10 winners in the first five games of the match, which lasted just 19 minutes, en route to leading 4-1. But Badosa soon steadied in the face of her power tennis and wrestled her own 4-1 lead to start the second set. Though Ostapenko pegged Badosa back to 4-4, her surge wasn’t enough to win the match in two sets, and she ultimately triumphed in a final set for the third time in her four wins at this event.
Stat check: Ostapenko hit 44 winners off the ground to Badosa's eight. She also broke serve seven times on 13 chances.