Roland Garros

Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 7 - Italians shine as Federer fights

Jannik Sinner was one of three Italians who reached the last 16 at the French Open on Saturday.
Jannik Sinner was one of three Italians who reached the last 16 at the French Open on Saturday. Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

A triumvirate of Italians Lorenzo Musetti, Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini made it into the last 16 and they'll face the big three of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on Day 9.

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Are there no women to watch at night?

The 9pm slot was given for the sixth night in succession to a men's singles match. 

No country for old men

Roger Federer became the last of the "Big Three" to play what is obviously the 9pm men's night match. Novak Djokovic was the first on Day 3 and Rafael Nadal on Day 5. The 39-year-old eighth seed took on Dominik Koepfer from Germany on centre court. And Federer started as if he'd rather be sipping cocoa in his slippers in his hotel room. There was some of the zap and zing but not enough zest to crush the German who was playing in the third round for the first time. The first set went to a tiebreak and Federer clinched it. The German took the second on a tiebreak and just looked the happier of the two to play until 2am in the morning. Federer got the third also after a tiebreak. They started the fourth set just after midnight. And Federer took that to conclude the match just before 1am after three hours and 34 minutes of play. The review wondered at around 11.30pm: are people staying up to watch this stuff? "Thank you for not falling asleep," quipped Federer to the gaggle of reporters in the stands before he left the court. Is this really the future?

Italian trio

There was always going to be one Italian in the last 16 from the top half of the draw because Marco Cecchinato was up against Lorenzo Musetti. Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini won their matches to make it three. Sinner and Musetti will go into their next games as underdogs as they take on Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic respectively. Ninth seed Berrettini will be fancying his chances against Federer. Especially if it's a night.

Lost in translation?

After his first five set victory, 19-year-old Musetti was asked about having fellow teenager Sinner out there and doing well. "I'm really proud and happy that Jannik is still going forward in the slams. I think he deserves it. Me and Jannik, I think we are the future of Italian tennis and of the tennis in general." Some old men might have something to say on that Lorenzo.

Nice to struggle

Defending champion Iga Swiatek had never beaten Anett Kontaveit. The 25-year-old Estonian's two victories had come on hard courts at the 2019 Cincinnatti Open and last year's Australian Open. Naturally enough, Swiatek started their third round match tentatively and dropped her opening service game. She eventually recovered to level at 4-4 and once she'd won the tiebreak, she steamrollered home 6-0. "It's good to have matches like that because it keeps you down to earth," said the 20-year-old Pole. "And you have to just be careful on every point and on every game." Hope to see you in the 9pm night slot Iga.

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