BEVERLY HILLS, October 4, (THEWILL) – There were upsets of note as the clay-surface tennis tournament of Roland Garros continued on its eighth day. Pre-tournament projections have not fared accordingly. It was an identical occurrence in both the male and female categories. As players take to court on the quest for a place in the final eight, THEWILL presents the highlights here.
The competition’s second-seeded male player, Dominic Theim had to give everything he had to survive a five-setter against the impressive wild card Hugo Gaston. In a game that lasted three hours and 32 minutes, it was a glorious way to close the day of tennis in the Open.
The French wild card, at the crucial decider of the game, had a game point to reach 4-4 but Theim’s forehand produced the goods in successive points to create the first break point of the set. A rare error on a forehand drop shot from Gaston gave Theim the break. In a testing finish to the match, a double fault handed the Frenchman a golden opportunity to get back on serve, but the US Open champion produced a determined play to finally shut the door and take the victory.
With this win, Theim notches his 11th consecutive win, a career-best winning streak of his own. Waiting for him in the quarterfinals is his good friend Diego Schwartzman from Argentina.
In his own match, Schwartzman defeated the Italian Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets, 6-1 6-3 6-4. It is the second time he will be in the last eight at the French Open in three years.
In one of the upsets of the day, Jannik Sinner, one of the Italians still left in the competition, held his own to beat a frustrated six-seeded player and US Open finalist Alexander Zverev from Germany. Sinner, who has been remarkable throughout and who had won all nine sets he played previously, lost a set against his more illustrious opponent.
However, other than that, he was in control of proceedings and commanded the pulse of the game throughout to knock the German out of the Open. His game play put Zverev on the defensive and drew 56 unforced errors from the German. THEWILL hopes he keeps up such display because he has qualified for a shot against 12-time Roland Garros maestro Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Nadal, in his own match earlier, made it to a 97-2 record wins at Roland Garros. The clay-court champion blitzed his American opponent Sebastain Korda to bring an end to a memorable week in Paris for the latter. After just one hour and 55 minutes, the match was done with a typical clinical Nadal victory – 6-1 6-1 6-2. In dispatching Korda, who had earlier revealed that Nadal was his mentor, the Spaniard picked up his 27th consecutive win at Roland Garros.
The Ukrainian, Elina Svitolina, seeded third, marched out against one of the home favourites, the Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia against whom she had lost three straight matches previously, determined to give a better account of herself. Today, she did.
In straight sets, Svitolina dashed Garcia’s hopes of progressing to the next round with a 6-1 6-3 victory. In the game, the Ukrainian converted six breaks of serve to move ahead in just over an hour, winning 29 points to 13 for the Frenchwoman. THEWILL believes Svitolina will fancy her chances of progressing to the semi-finals as the woman standing in the way of this two-time major semi-finalist from Ukraine is world no. 131, Nadia Podoroska who set a record of her own today.
Nadia became the first Argentinean woman to get through to the quarterfinals in 16 years after overcoming the challenge posed by Barbora Krejcikova. Nadia triumphed 2-6 6-3 6-3 after losing the first set to the Czech. She was also the second qualifier to win on Sunday and to progress into the next round.
World no. 159, Martina Trevisan from Italy kept her Parisian dreams alive. She added a victory over a Top 10 player to her already impressive performance at the tournament so far. The victim was the fifth-seeded player Kiki Bertens. Winning 55 percent of her return points, Trevisan produced exciting tennis to finish the game with a backhand lob winner and record a 6-4 6-4 victory.
The upset of the day probably goes to the superb Iga Swiatek from Poland who stunned the entire tournament by knocking out the heavy favourite on the women’s side, Simona Halep. It was a sweet victory of ice-cold vengeance as Swiatek could only manage to record just one game in her match against Halep in the Round of 16 of Roland Garros the year before. This time, it was a Swiatek who outplayed Halep in every sense, triumphing in straight sets 6-1 6-2.
The Pole knocked Halep off balance from the onset and the Romanian never recovered. Taking advantage of pace, angles and sheer fearlessness, Swiatek took the game to the two-time major champion, striking 30 winners to Halep’s 12 and notched up her victory without once facing a break point. It was Halep’s first defeat since losing to Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open semi-finals.