The Roland Garros tennis tournament is in its final stage. The Greeks Tsitispas and Sakkari qualified for the semifinals of the tournament on clay. Iga Swiatek, defender of the crown, was eliminated. Paris will have a new queen, but Rafael Nadal, the king of the 13 crowns, is still in plain sight. In the semifinals he will go for Djokovic.
This Wednesday the last quarterfinals of Roland Garros were played. This time a little more than 13,000 people were able to enter the stadium, as France entered its third stage of release from confinement.
With Swiatek out, Paris will have a new queen
Greek Maria Sakkari surprised Iga Swiatek, defender of last year’s title here. Thus ended a streak of 11 consecutive victories at Roland Garros.
The Polish woman was confronted with an opponent who was very precise and who hit the ball hard. In this way he took the first set 6-4.
Swiatek seemed to run out of ideas and move with less agility than in previous games, and he was also seen as erratic as rarely. When he was 2-0 down, he asked for medical treatment. After a few minutes he returned with his right thigh bandaged. This changed nothing and Sakkari waited for her to seal her triumph.
Now, the Greek will play against the Czech Barbora Krejcikova who ended the aspirations of Coco Gauff 7-6 (8-6) and 6-3 this Wednesday. Both reached the semifinal of a grand slam for the first time.
In the rest of the women’s draw, this Thursday the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek and the Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will face each other.
With these results, for the first time not a single top 10 player will be among the semi-finalists at the Roland Garros Open Era.
Roland Garros smiles at the Greeks
Greek players are making history in this edition. Before Maria Sakkari’s historic victory, her compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas qualified for the semi-finals. He did so by facing Russian Daniil Medvedev on the empty main court. It is perhaps the best match that has been seen in this edition. An even confrontation, which began with few errors, both players very well calibrated in their strokes and in great concentration.
Of the games that have been played in the night sessions, without an audience, it was in this one that there was not a strange atmosphere as in the previous ones. In fact, the lack of public was not felt as much.
Stefanos Tsitsipas took the first set 6-3. But the second started tighter. Medvedev started ahead in the first set 3-4. But then the Greek, number 5 in the ATP ranking, came back to stay with the set 7-6, playing with a cool head. For what would be the third and final set, Medvedev decided to completely change his clothes and wear all white (he was dark blue). But the change did not bring him serenity, although the match became close again and he went to 5-5.
Then Tsitsipas with his powerful and well placed serve went up 6-5. Then came a gesture from the Russian that generated incomprehension in the press box, serving below when he had the chance to equalize. The Greek did not waste and kept the set and the game.
In the semifinal, Tsitsipas will face Alexander Zverev, who beat a combative Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina on Tuesday.
Nadal gives a set to a Schwartzman who shone, but did not reach him
Joy filled the Chatrier on Wednesday afternoon. People stood up to greet Rafael Nadal in his match against Argentine Diego Schwartzman.
The atmosphere that traditionally reigns in Paris was felt for the first time. The game started slow. The two players were measuring forces and intentions.
Nadal got up with a cross ball for 2-1. The fight started strong with “El Peque” making Nadal walk the court from side to side. Very solid with his right. He got 40-A and saved his serve until 2-2.
The public wanted games and shows and that’s what they got. At times Nadal was a favorite and at others, Schwartzman. The first break came from the hand of Nadal who managed to break the Argentine’s serve to get 4-2.
Then came a double fault from Nadal who has not been so fine in the service so far in the tournament. And Schwartzman who breaks the Spanish service for 4-3 and thus shows that the fight was still in good shape. But Nadal retorted and kept the game for 5-3, before it served for the set that he won 6-3 in 43 minutes.
The second set started with a consistent service from Schwartzman and then an entry break for the porteño to go 0-3. Meanwhile, the level of play of both increased, a match with final touches and marathon points. “El Peque” was ahead throughout the set and the effort paid off, taking the second set 4-6. An almost historic achievement, as Nadal did not lose a set in Paris since 2019 in the final against Dominic Thiem.
The match went 4-4 in the third set. Nadal’s mistakes with the ball that goes through the corridor and that the manacorí does not usually do so repeatedly are disconcerting. The match went 4-4 in the third set. Schwartzman had to find a way to prevent Nadal from going into “steamroller” mode and raising his level of play, which is often lethal. But it is difficult to maintain such intensity and after 2h16 of play, Nadal was left with the third set 6-4.
The fourth set began with a double fault from Schwartzman, which did not bode well. Nadal seemed with new strength, unlike his opponent, and was soon ahead 2-0. The public encouraged him by chanting “Diego, Diego.” It was in vain because Nadal made the break.
The Spanish did not want this to last much longer and went into expedited mode achieving 5-0 and serving for the victory that he ended up taking with 6-0. Schwartzman retired to public acclaim after 2:45 of the game.
Nadal – Djokovic dream semifinal
The last quarterfinal match pitted world number one Novak Djokovic against Matteo Berrettini. It was a match in four sets in three hours and 28 minutes minutes in which the Serbian yielded the third set.
Berrettini played his first quarter-final in Paris after the retirement of Roger Federer.
To add to the pressure, Matteo Berrettini discovered what it is like to play on the Philippe Chatrier pitch at night and with an audience.
The match between the Serbian and the Italian started cautiously. Djokovic was the first to find comfort to lead 4-2 thanks to blunders by Berrettini, the kind that against the world number one are a sin to commit.
It is worth mentioning that the Italian, number 9 in the ATP ranking, won showy points by pushing the Serbian behind the line, cornering him and making him stretch to the maximum.
Djokovic won 6-3 in the first heat in 52 minutes. In the second set, Djokovic quickly took the lead to win it in 34 minutes. The Italian multiplied the unforced errors, up to 11 compared to the 2 of his opponent
The public wanted the match to be extended and the good intentions of Berrettini, who continued to fight the fight, were celebrated with applause and cheers from the stands.
The third set was like ping pong. Despite the mistakes, Berrettini managed to lead 2-3. The game became close again. Then came a 3-4 for the Italian and he even went ahead 5-6 although his advantage was short-lived. The Serbian’s service equalized again and led to the ‘tie break’.
The audience was begging for at least one more set. No sooner said than done. With a 6-7, Berrettini took the third set. However, the curfew that begins on June 9 at 11pm and not at 9pm in France, prevented those present from staying to see the end of the match. Shouts of regret in the stands and game stopped in the fourth set when they went 3-2 for half an hour while they cleared the stadium.
It resumed with an intense game. Djokovic slipped and fell to the ground, but without hurting himself. The set went to 5-5 and at 6-5 Nole held out and was left with the victory.
It was 3 hours and 28 minutes of play and shouts of liberation from Djokovic to his box. The most difficult thing was “to find the motivation to continue once we were left without an audience and without their energy,” he explained at the end of the meeting.
Now Paris has the Nadal – Djokovic dream semi-final to be played this Friday.