French Open: Kasatkina ready to scale new heights in Swiatek battle

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Daria Kasatkina aims to climb another "mountain" when she faces Iga Swiatek in her first grand slam semi-final at the French Open.

Kasatkina won an all-Russian showdown with Veronika Kudermetova on Court Philippe-Chatrier 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to break new ground at a major on Wednesday.

The 20th seed had lost her previous two grand slam quarter-finals in 2018, but she was not denied on this occasion in Paris.

Kasatkina will do battle with Swiatek for a place in the Roland Garros final on Thursday after the world number one beat Jessica Pegula in straight sets.

Top seed Swiatek has beaten Kasatkina twice in hard-court events this year and the Pole is on an astonishing 33-match winning run.

Yet Kasatkina has not dropped a set at the French Open and the 25-year-old is relishing the challenge of playing the biggest match of her career.

She said: "We played a few times this year. Okay, I lost those matches, but it was a different story. It was a hard court, beginning of the year, I was not in the same shape as I am now.

"I cannot compare what we are going to have tomorrow and what we had in February, March when we were playing. It's going to be completely different match. I want to win a lot, she wants to win as well, and it's going to be a good match.

"You never know what's going to happen in the semi-final of a grand slam, so it's going to be fun and that's it."

Kasatkina will savour her best performance at a major, but is hungry for more.

"I have no time to relax, I'm playing already tomorrow. So a little bit of time to enjoy it, because still it's special for me, a first semi-final," she added.

"But I know that tomorrow is another mountain in front of me which I have to climb and that's it. Maybe it's even better that I don't have much time to think about how good it is to be in the semi-finals, so I have another battle."

As she prepares to face the all-conquering tournament favourite, Kasatkina does not believe she has ever been in better shape.

She said: "Mentally and physically I feel the best I ever was, which is good, because it means that I'm improving. But I don't feel safe, because when you're in the comfort zone it means there's something wrong.

"I think it's better to feel something behind you, so you don't relax much. I think I'm always ready, you have to be always be ready.

"It doesn't have to be like, 'Oh, I'm so bad, and what do I have to do now?' But if you are ready and you know how to get out of this, this is also what I learn."

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