Chants of “Kiki-Kiki-Kiki” resonated around Court Philippe-Chatrier on Tuesday, but the echoes of that sonic support are all that remain of the local fans’ big hope for a French Open champion.
Home favourite Kristina ‘Kiki’ Mladenovic failed to handle the atmosphere, the wind or the rain, as well as Timea Bacsinszky who checked into the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-4 win.
Thirteenth-seed Mladenovic had played with tears in her eyes. She left the arena in a similar state.
Swiss Bacsinszky was thrilled.
“I knew she would be a formidable opponent,” the 30th seed said grinning. “We had everything today: a hurricane, and sand storms, nice weather, and almost snow… it was really complicated to stay focused throughout the day.
“I am knackered.”
Addressing the disappointed French crowd she said: “I am sorry, thank you for the atmosphere.”
She now has time to regroup before meeting 19-year-old Latvian Jelena Ostapenko who ousted Caroline Wozniacki.
Mladenovic had high hopes of becoming the first French champion since Mary Pierce in 2000, but never really clicked.
“Today I was very, very far from my best tennis and it was still a close two sets, I’d be silly not to be positive about that,” said Mladenovic, who believed her opponent’s game was more suited to the tough conditions.