PARIS (Reuters) - Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek will break into the world's top 50 on Monday following her semi-final run at the French Open and will leave Paris with the confidence that she can compete against the top players on the biggest stage.
The 23-year-old was ranked 85th and had never won a main draw match at the French Open when she took the court against former U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the first round.
The dream run that started with the win over the Canadian ended in the semi-finals on Thursday against Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova but not before she had become the first Slovenian player to reach the semi-finals at a Grand Slam.
"I've learned that I can play good against top players and that I can play good at tournaments like this," Zidansek told reporters. "I'm just going to try to take it all in and prepare for the next tournaments.
"I think we all dream of making it big at Grand Slams ... I remember, I played juniors Grand Slam first round and I was like completely overwhelmed. It took me a few years to kind of get used to the big tournaments.
"The fact that I managed to play this well, got this far, just shows me that I can play at the big stage."
Zidansek will take home a check of 375,000 euros (about $457,000) and will rise to a career-high spot when the rankings are updated on Monday.
Zidansek rued her missed opportunities against the Russian on Thursday but was not too downhearted.
"I showed myself and I've learned that at this stage it really is, I'm going to say, 90% a mental game, just about going out there and believing in yourself, believing in your game," she said, adding that she might be able to add a physiotherapist to her team with the big prize purse.
($1 = 0.8214 euros)
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ed Osmond)