Roland Garros

Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 9 - women are allowed out at night

Coco Gauff reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final after a straight sets win over Ons Jabeur.
Coco Gauff reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final after a straight sets win over Ons Jabeur. © Pierre Rene-Worms/RFI

The defending champion Iga Swiatek and Marta Kostyuk did the night shift and in the daytime Coco Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova and Maria Sakkari reached their first quarter-final in the singles at a Grand Slam tournament. The old warriors had their say too by taking out two of the Italian triumvirate.

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A wow moment

The 9pm session was given over to the ladies. Yes, you read that right. The 9pm night session was given over to the ladies. Defending champion Iga Swiatek got her moment in the night lights along with Marta Kostyuk. Their last 16 clash on centre court was a good old-fashioned slugfest. They were spraying winners all over the place. Twenty-year-old Swiatek went into the bash as the favourite but her 18-year-old Ukrainian opponent, who had accounted for the 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza in the first round, came out swinging big. It was no place for faint hearts. Swiatek edged it 6-3, 6-4. 

And then there was one

Three Italians were in the last 16 in the top half of the men's draw …. unluckily for Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti they were up against a couple of tasty geezers in the shape of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic respectively. Musetti fell to injury and Sinner was outmuscled. Matteo Berrettini was the most fortunate. He was due to face Roger Federer. But the day 7 night session killed off King Roger's campaign. So it’s Djokovic v Berrettini in the last eight. As well as Nadal v Diego Schwartzman.

Someone’s in the semis for the first time

Fresh blood galore in the top half of the women’s draw. Coco Gauff reached her first quarter-final at a Grand Slam tournament after a straight sets destruction of the 24th seed Ons Jabeur. The 17-year-old American, who is seeded 25th, won 6-3, 6-1 in 53 minutes. Her opponent will be the 25-year-old Czech Barbora Krejcikova. She saw off the 2018 finalist Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-0. Krejcikova has tasted success in the doubles winning the French Open and Wimbledon in 2018 with Katerina Siniakova. But she's got a chance to forge another identity. Maria Sakkari became the first Greek woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final when she ousted the 2020 finalist Sofia Kenin. Her reward is a last eight date with the woman who beat Kenin, a certain Iga Swiatek.

They can't all be the best

"It's probably the best tournament in the world, so you can't expect an easy opponent in the quarter-final," said Rafael Nadal of his next adversary Diego Schwartzman. The pair met in the semis at the 2020 tournament and Nadal won. He'll be expected to do the same this year. And few would bet against him after Nadal impressively saw off the rising Italian teenager Jannik Sinner in straight sets. But actually, wherever the top players are, they say that particular Grand Slam tournament is the best. They marvel about Melbourne, they sing praises in Paris and laud in London. It's nothing but hosannas in New York. But then, this is the industrial sports entertainment complex.

They make it easy 

For a complex, there's a simple strategy. Charge the fans high prices for food and merchandising outside the stadium and make sure they're flattered inside. A few years back, some genius had the whizzer idea to get the victorious player to speak on court. And because Roger Federer could do it in French, he became the darling of the universe. Serena Williams started saying a few words in French along with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal has added a few mots too. Everyone applauds. What the review likes is X French former tennis star emerging onto the court and belching out the question as statement. "You must be very happy with the win Rafa in front of the crowd." All these tennis lads and lasses are well brought up. The response? "Yes, it's great to win in front of the fans ... " Applause and cheers. After everyone shuffles out, even from the press stands the review can hear the beeps of myriad contactless payments.

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