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Jasmine Paolini Making a Name for Herself at the French Open

Jasmine Paolini French Open

When you look at the semifinalists of Roland Garros this year it’s no surprise to see three-time champion Iga Swiatek alongside current US Open champion Coco Gauff in the final four. What will surprise many, though, is not only 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva joining them, but 28-year-old Jasmine Paolini–who had previously never made it past Round 2 of a Grand Slam before 2024. Definitely not one many would have predicted to make it this far.

Most casual tennis viewers may have not heard much of Jasmine Paolini before this year, and that’s totally understandable. Despite finishing the season in the Top 100 the past four years, there was never anything to latch onto results wise–no big wins, no big runs at the more prestigious events with just a single title to show for all of it, coming back in 2021 in Slovenia.

Fast forward to 2024 and she’s already doubled her title count with a terrific title at the WTA 1000 event in Dubai–where in every round she beat a Top 40 player, including former US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, at current World #7 Maria Sakkari. Just to add even more context, going into Dubai she was coming in on three back-to-back losses and had lost her last three finals making the run to the trophy even more surprising.

What Sets Jasmine Paolini Apart

In fairness, when you watch the Italian play, it’s immediately obvious she doesn’t set the world on fire. At just 5’4″, she’s your typical clay loving Italian happy to grind down what she can and essentially to an extent, make you beat yourself. You can’t expect a player of her build to be anything but that–despite the current three women at the top of the game heavily relying on big serving and power, especially Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, the latter who she just beat in the Roland Garros quarterfinals. With such a game style, you obviously need to be skillful, read the game well and good around the net, further highlighted by partnering Sara Errani to win the Rome doubles title this season as well, the biggest doubles title of her career.

The thing is though, despite her game being what it is, it’s fun to watch. Add her amiable personality and charming smile to her never-die-attitude on the court and willing to fight for everything, you can’t help but root for the 28-year-old. So often in the past you get player spending their mid-20s ranked around the 30-80 in the world get stuck there and gradually regress and drop down the rankings as age catches up to them, yet in this cꦡase Paolini managed to get up to 12 in the world and is now guaranteed to break the Top 10 next Monday regardless of what happens the rest of Roland Garros. It’s great t🦂o see given this is a woman who won just a single match at the Grand Slams last year and just three more in the 12 Grand Slams preceding that; it would have been very easy to just stay at that level than improve to the extent she has this season.

The big question now becomes what she can do the remainder of this Roland Garros. Playing a 17-year-old in a Grand Slam semifinal can be seen as a huge opportunity, but given Andreeva is coming off wins against Grand Slam champions such as Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka, the Russian on paper is the favorite in the semifinal despite her inexperience and age. Add to that the Italian is coming off three-back-to-back final set wins, you do wonder just how much left she might have in the tank both mentally and physically. Coming off by far the biggest and best win of her career it’s going to be hard to make her first ever Grand Slam final, but the chance is still there–and regardless of what happens, we all know she’ll give it her all, one of the main reasons she’s earned so many fans.

Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

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