Wimbledon, a historic semifinal for Jasmine Paolini and Italian women’s tennis

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Wimbledon, a historic semifinal for Jasmine Paolini and Italian women’s tennis

What Jasmine Paolini accomplished yesterday, destroying with the score of 6-2 6-1 in just 58 minutes an emerging tennis player like the American Emma Navarro, è a feat of historic scope for our home tennis. The 28-year-old Tuscan from Bagni di Lucca è in fact, the first Italian to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon.

Before her, only five Italians had made it to the quarterfinals on the London lawns of Chrch Road without ever making it over the hurdle: Lucia Valerio, defeated 6-3 6-2 by Dorothy Round in 1933; Laura Golarsa, 6-3 2-6 7-5 by Chris Evert in 1989 (and the Milanese, now a popular Sky commentator, had come within two points of victory); Silvia Farina, 5-7 6-0 6-1 by Kim Clijsters in 2003; Francesca Schiavone, 6-2 6-2 by Elena Dementieva in 2009; and Camila Giorgi, 3-6 6-3 6-4 by Serena Williams in 2018.

But the incredible thing è that Paolini è succeeded in this feat just a few weeks after arriving in the final at Roland Garros, then on a completely different surface, even though many insist on saying that the’grass of now resembles clay more than that of yesteryear: a feat this never even remotely approached by an Italian tennis player. By reaching the semifinals of the London Slam, Jasmine, who currently è number 7 in the world and who was number 29 at the beginning of the year, è is already sure to move up two positions, equaling the number 5 ranking of her doubles partner Sara Errani and, for now, staying one step below the number 4 reached by Francesca Schiavone.

Tomorrow’s schedule is not yet known but è it is likely that Paolini will play the first of the two semifinals on the Central Court starting at 2:30 pm. Her opponent will be Croatian Donna Vekic, currently number 37 in the world who è was number 19 four and a half years ago, against whom she has won two out of three times. An’opponent therefore theoretically affordable for Jasmine, especially if the Tuscan should repeat the fantastic performance she showed off against Navarro.

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