IMAGES from Day 9 of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Monday.
Teenager Rune dumps last year’s finalist Tsitsipas out of French Open
IMAGE: Denmark’s Holger Rune reacts during his fourth round match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters
Teenage sensation Holger Rune outmuscled world number four and last-year’s French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday to move into the quarter-finals with his biggest Grand Slam win to date.
The Dane, who has improved more than 350 places in the world rankings in the past 15 months, joins fellow 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the last eight, the first time two teenagers made that stage at a Grand Slam since 1994.
“I have an unbelievable feeling. I was so nervous in the end,” said a beaming Rune, playing in his first French Open.
“I was very nervous. I told myself to keep at it and play my plan. I mean it is so great to still be here.”
“Part of the tactic to play as aggressive as possible when he gets shorter balls he attacks them. I really liked playing the drop shots and it worked out pretty good so I am happy.”
Fourth seed Tsitsipas, hunting for his first ever Grand Slam, started well and broke the Dane to go 3-1 up when Rune’s drop shot was not short enough and the Greek whipped a cross-court winner past him.
Rune, however, broke him twice, clinching the set with a disputed line call that went in his favour.
IMAGE: Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas reacts during his match against Denmark’s Holger Rune. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Tsitsipas did not lose his composure and saved three consecutive break points in the very first game of the second set, powering back to seal it.
He did slip up though midway through the third when two double faults and two unforced errors handed Rune a key break and the teenager went 2-1 up in sets when Tsitsipas did well to return a Rune smash but then fired a topspin forehand into the net.
The Dane succeeded in getting Tsitsipas out of his comfort zone on the baseline, sending his tall opponent to the net with drop points and stretching him wide off the court with deep cross-court balls.
Rune had three break points at the start of the fourth which the Greek saved but the teen made amends on his opponent’s next two service game to open up a 5-2 lead with a scorching backhand down the line.
He did show some nerves in the end as Tsitsipas fought back to 5-4 and even had break points but Rune made sure of his big win on the first match point just as the clock ticked past the three hour mark.
Rudd makes maiden Major quarter-final
IMAGE: Norway’s Casper Ruud celebrates winning his fourth round match against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters
Eighth seed Casper Ruud reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final when he downed Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the French Open on Monday.
Norway’s Ruud, who will face either last year’s runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas or 19-year-old Holger Rune on Wednesday, overcame a brief fightback from his 12th seeded opponent to achieve one of the goals he had set for himself this season.
“It feels great, it was one of my goals this year. I feel more experienced playing best of five sets,” said Ruud, the first Norwegian in the last eight at Roland Garros.
“Hubert has improved a lot on clay, he has become a dangerous player on all surfaces; he has a dangerous serve but I did well at returning it today.”
After an early trade of breaks, Ruud stole his opponent’s serve again to go 3-1 up as Hurkacz double faulted.
He left no room for hope to the Pole, making only two unforced errors before bagging the set as the 12th seed buried a forehand into the net.
A fine backhand winner down the line gave him the break and a 2-0 lead in the second set, which was another easy affair for Ruud as Hurkacz still had to find his range on serve.
The Pole woke up in the third set and it was a different story, with several spectacular exchanges at the net.
Hurkacz peppered the court with winners and he was rewarded with a break for 4-2 and held throughout to reduce the arrears.
He stole Ruud’s serve right away to take command of the fourth set, only for the Norwegian to fight back for 2-2 with a crosscourt passing shot winner.
Ruud broke decisively for 4-2 as Hurkacz made yet another forehand error.
The Pole saved a match point at 5-2 but bowed out on the second when Ruud fired a crosscourt forehand winner.
Keys locked out of French Open by Russian Kudermetova
IMAGE: USA’s Madison Keys in action during her fourth round match against Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters
Madison Keys totally lost control after a brilliant opening set as she crashed out of the French Open with a 1-6 6-3 6-1 defeat by Russian Veronika Kudermetova on Monday.
The 22nd seed, who was looking to be the third American into the last eight after Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff qualified on Sunday, was powerless against her 25-year-old opponent’s heavy forehand.
Keys raced through a one-sided opening set and seemed to be heading for a comfortable win, but Kudermetova started playing more accurately and took command of the second on court Philippe Chatrier.
The Russian relied on her forehand to put Keys on the back foot and found herself serving for the set in no time. Keys saved six set points as Kudermetova showed signs of nerves.
A big first serve saved her some blushes on the seventh attempt and the Russian carried the momentum into the decider.
A double break gave her a 4-1 lead in just 20 minutes and she bagged the next two games easily to wrap it up when Keys made a forehand unforced error.
“I tried to trust myself, to believe. That was my key,” said the 29th seeded Kudermetova, who will face fellow Russian Daria Kasaktina in her first quarter-final appearance in the singles draw at a major.
“Sometimes I tried to play harder, sometimes with the spin, a little smarter. I did a god job today.”
Kasatkina’s ‘zero mistakes’ carry her into French Open last eight
IMAGE: Russia’s Daria Kasatkina celebrates winning her fourth round match against Italy’s Camila Giorgi. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters
World number 20 Daria Kasatkina thundered past Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-2 with a near flawless baseline game to reach the French Open quarter-finals for the second time in four years.
The Russian broke her opponent in the first and last game to cruise through the first set in just 41 minutes, and survived a wobble early in the second when Giorgi carved out two break points in a lengthy game that lasted almost eight minutes.
“Zero mistakes,” Kasatkina said when asked about her game plan. “Camila is a very aggressive player and it is really tough to play against her.”
Kasatkina made just 10 unforced errors in the match that lasted an hour and 20 minutes, compared to her opponent’s 37, while also winning all her points at the net along with 50% of her break opportunities.
“The conditions today were good and a bit slower so I had a bit more time. I could manage the important points,” she said on a sunny but chilly morning in Paris.
“At 2-1 on 40-15 (in the second set) I did a technical, tactical mistake. But I tried to be more focused. Zero mistakes, as I said.”
She next faces either Veronika Kudermetova or American Madison Keys.
“Normally I don’t (look at the draw). But now I know who is there. Kudermetova or Keys. Now it’s just one match, two opponents and it does not matter who is on the other side of the net,” said the 25-year-old.
Rublev through to French Open last eight as Sinner retires injured
IMAGE: Russia’s Andrey Rublev reacts during his fourth round match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner retired injured from his fourth-round French Open clash against Russian Andrey Rublev after a good start to the match on Monday.
The 20-year-old, bidding to make his second quarter-final in Paris after 2020, won the opening set 6-1 before getting treatment on his left knee in the second, which he lost 6-4.
Rublev, the seventh seed, was 2-0 up in the third when Sinner threw in the towel.
“I felt good or quite ok in the first set and after serving at 2-1 (in the second) I felt something from that point,” Sinner said.
Sinner had also been treated in the previous round but said the pain was in a different place on Monday.
“I felt it too much. I was hoping it would go away. It didn’t, so playing like this, unfortunately, was not the right thing to do,” a visibly disappointed Sinner told a news conference.
He said he would undergo tests in the coming days to determine the exact cause of the problem and was not clear about how the rest of the season would shape up for him.
The grasscourt season is kicking off after the end of the French Open with Wimbledon starting in a month’s time.
“I will have to see what it means,” he said. “What could have caused it.”
In the quarter-finals, Rublev will face either Croatian Marin Cilic or second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
Swiatek extinguishes Zheng’s fire to reach French Open last eight
IMAGE: Poland’s Iga Swiatek in action during her fourth round match against China’s Qinwen Zheng. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters
Iga Swiatek survived a big scare as she advanced to the French Open quarter-finals by beating Chinese teenager Qinwen Zheng 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2 for her 32nd consecutive victory on Monday.
The World No 1, gunning for a second title in three years at Roland Garros, showed rare signs of nerves as she let a comfortable lead slip through her hands before steamrolling her opponent after Zheng suffered a thigh problem.
Poland’s Swiatek, who will next face American 11th seed Jessica Pegula, is unbeaten since last February, claiming titles on clay in Stuttgart and Rome.
The 2020 champion is bidding to become the fourth player since 2000 to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup multiple times after Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
The 20-year-old is on the longest unbeaten run in the women’s tour since Serena bagged 34 victories in succession in 2013.
“She’s playing amazing tennis,” Swiatek said of Zheng.
“I was surprised with some of her shots so congratulations to her. It’s a tough tournament. I’m happy I could come back after a frustrating first set.
“I’m proud of myself that I’m still in the tournament.”
Swiatek broke for 2-0 and kept her advantage throughout the first set although she rushed things at time.
The Pole wasted three set points at 5-3 and two more at 6-5 with Zheng forcing a tiebreak after throwing the kitchen sink at her.
Swiatek moved 5-2 up in the breaker and it seemed Zheng’s resistance would finally end, only for the Chinese, nicknamed ‘Fire’ at her tennis academy in Spain, to go for her shots and win the remaining five points to take the set.
Zheng took a medical time out at 3-0 down in the second set, having her back massaged on court before going to the locker room and coming back with her right thigh strapped.
The treatment did not seem to help much as she dropped eight games in a row.
She picked herself up to fight back in the third but the Swiatek express train was already going full speed and the Pole wrapped it up when Zheng’s backhand sailed long.
American Pegula rallies to beat Begu and reach first Paris quarters
IMAGE: USA’s Jessica Pegula celebrates winning her fourth round match against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters
American Jessica Pegula fought back to defeat 63rd-ranked Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Monday to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open for the first time.
The 11th-seeded Pegula, the highest seed remaining in the women’s draw after world number one Iga Swiatek, became the third American woman to reach the last eight of the claycourt Grand Slam at this year’s Roland Garros tournament.
Pegula, who made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 2021 and 2022, did not lose a set in her first three rounds but Begu broke the American early and then sealed the opening set with a second break.
Pegula had lost both of their previous meetings in straight sets coming into Monday’s contest and was forced to dig deep.
The 28-year-old found her rhythm and broke Begu’s serve three times over the next two sets to book her spot against either Swiatek or Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen.
“It’s been weird because the first few matches until today I was cruising really fast, getting really big leads really quickly, losing some of those leads,” Pegula said.
“Today I definitely didn’t feel like I was playing my best from the get go, getting a little frustrated and then had to claw my way back. So it was basically the opposite of what I’ve been doing.
“I just tried to stay calm and think about what I had to do and also just try to hold on to my serve and get as many chances and just kind of grind it out.
“I was able to not get frustrated and then stay calm and figure out strategically what I needed to do. And then I was able to execute that, luckily.”
With her victory against the 31-year-old Begu, Pegula also ensured she will break into top 10 of the women’s rankings from her current career-high position of 11th when they are updated next Monday after the tournament.
“It feels weird … I feel like I haven’t really been able to like appreciate it because I still am like in a big tournament right now,” Pegula told reporters. “It’s just been amazing.
“I knew it was going to be really tough because obviously the higher you get, the harder it is to move up as well … so I thought it was going to be a very tough goal to reach.
“But I’m pretty happy that halfway through and I have been able to reach that. It was definitely on my goals, but I don’t think I was putting a ton of pressure on it.”