Kudermetova 3-2 Kasatkina*
Three aces now for Kudermetova, who is bouncing around the court with confidence. However, both players still trade errors fairly evenly, and a great long spike gives Kasatkina two break points. She doesn’t have to try too hard to get things back on serve either: another long forehand from Kudermetova makes it 3-2.
*Kudemetova 3-1 Kasatkina
Kasatkina goes up 30-0 and jumps in frustration when a topspin return down the line falls wide. Then two erratic forehands find the net to give Kudermetova the first break point of the match… and Kasatkina spends plenty of time to give it to her.
Kudermetova 2-1 Kasatkina*
These players already look extremely well matched, and you can see why their only previous meeting, in St. Petersburg last year, went the distance. Still, Kudermetova secures another good hold with a nice crosscourt backhand that leaves Kasatkina putting in the skids to carve a nice groove in the clay.
*Kudemetova 1-1 Kasatkina
By the way, I now realize that witty second mentions for this pairing will be hard to come by, as both players are 25 years old and Russian. Get ready for LOTS of last names. Kudermetova is 30-15 up, but shoots long during a range-seeking baseline rally, with an early look at a break she seems to attract. Kasatkina is finding the lanes well, putting pressure on her opponent’s forehand and forcing another error to level the scores.
Kudermetova 1-0 Kasatkina* (the asterisk indicates the next service)
Predictably, the nervy opening stages see a couple of errors traded, but Kudermetova goes up 30-15 with a lovely shot, Kasatkina wisely opting against even vaguely trying to chase him down. She closes with an ace in the middle to secure control.
To get this far, Kudermetova has fired two fellow seeds. She edged out 22nd seed Madison Keys in the fourth round, having dropped the first set 6-1. This followed a narrow third-round win over Paula Badosa, who retired with a knee injury three games into the second set as she trailed 6-3, 2-1.
Kasatkina’s only top-seeded encounter was last time against Camila Giorgi, whom she impressively defeated 6-2, 6-2. In the third round, she gave the dangerous Shelby Rogers a similar deal in straight sets.
The players are on the field. In the women’s draw, the seeds have been falling faster than when a strong local pigeon swoops down to attack the bird feeder at the end of my garden. Swiatek is the only one of the top 10 remaining, and none of the other nine made it past the third round.
We already have an unseeded semi-finalist in Trevisan, who will take on 18th-seeded Gauff, while Pegula (11), Kasatkina (20) and Kudermetova (29) make up the rest of the draw.
French referee Kader Nouni is in the chair and the hit has started.
The players will be out on the Philippe-Chatrier pitch in just under 10 minutes. Firstly, today we are guaranteed a new Grand Slam semi-finalist, with 25-year-old Veronika Kudermetova already finding herself in uncharted territory, never having advanced beyond the third round at a major tournament until this week. Four years ago, her Russian compatriot Daria Kasatkina, also 25, reached the quarterfinals but fell to eventual finalist Sloane Stephens.
The winner will meet the winner of Swiatek v Pegula, which follows immediately, in the semi-finals.
Elsewhere at Roland Garros today… Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett will be in individual wheelchair action, against Tokito Oda and Tom Egberink respectively. As a doubles partner, the British pair are seeking a staggering 10 Grand Slam titles in a row.
Today’s game in Chatrier begins with two women’s singles quarterfinals. Yesterday, Coco Gauff made her first Grand Slam semifinal thanks to victory over Sloane Stephens. She will play Italy’s Martina Trevisan, the world number 59, who was an upset winner against 17th seed Leylah Fernandez when the young Canadian struggled with an injury to her right foot. This is how Tumaini saw Tuesday’s action…
Gauff and Stephens, 29, go back a long way. As Gauff grew up surrounded by hype, Stephens watched her grow from a precocious eight-year-old to an adult with extensive touring experience. She would attend some of Gauff’s birthday parties and they know his families well. Here they played with so much at stake. This pitted two of the best athletes in the game against each other, but Gauff outplayed Stephens in the numerous long rallies and remained solid as each tried to find a way through the other’s defences. He served well when he needed it most and got past Stephens with regular dropshots, demonstrating the variety that has become a central part of his game.
Above all, Gauff hit his forehand as well as he has in any of his big games. Throughout his young career, Gauff’s forehand has become a major goal for all players, the goal of accelerating his elaborate swing with depth and rhythm, but Gauff frequently pushed Stephens back with his powerful spin. topspin while constantly looking to dictate and finish points.
Earlier on Tuesday, Alexander Zverev saw a comeback threatened by the youngster in massive form, Carlos Alcaraz…
Between Alcaraz’s teenage breakthrough phenomenon, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s attempts to dig deeper into the tennis history books and even the opportunity presented to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the vacant bottom half, few have had much to say about it. Zverev.
But a player rises to number 3 in the rankings for a reason. On a cool night at Roland Garros, he showed why, staying rock-solid against an erratic Alcaraz and shutting down the surrounding hype as he won 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7) to reach to the semi-final. -ends.
Alcaraz had started the match right away trying to impose his brand of high-octane tennis on all courts. But despite his intensity, his timing was completely off. Unforced errors flowed freely both forehand and backhand. Zverev was much more consistent. He soaked up the Spaniard’s inside-out forehand with his excellent backhand, which surprisingly didn’t concede a single unforced error over two and a half sets. He served well, he pressed when necessary and his historical weaknesses, his second serve and forehand, held.
It really was an extraordinary four-set match, lasting one five-set. Only the first four games clocked over 30 minutes, which set the standard. Guardian Sport’s print crew was left sweating and chewing pencils as the clock ticked well past midnight, with print site workers and delivery men tapping their feet impatiently.
“It was a very tough match,” Nadal said. “Novak is one of the best players in history without a doubt. Always playing against him is an incredible challenge. All the history we have together, today was another.
“To win against Novak, there is only one way: play your best from the first point to the last. Today was one of those nights for me. An unexpected level but I’m super happy.
“I am just enjoying every day that I have the opportunity to be here, and not thinking too much about what may happen in the future. Of course I’m going to keep fighting to find a solution for [his problematic foot], but at the moment, we haven’t. So giving me the chance to play another semi-final here at Roland Garros is a lot of energy for me.”
In response, Djokovic said: “I know I could have played better. I am proud to fight and stay until the last shot. Like I said, you know, I lost to a better player today. I had my chances. I didn’t use them. That is all. More than four hours of battle, and I have to accept this defeat.”
For those of you who went to bed early, here’s a taste of what you missed…
As the two great rivals of men’s tennis met once again at the French Open, many factors pointed in favor of Novak Djokovic. While both he and Rafael Nadal had entered the clay-court season filled with uncertainty, only Djokovic had made notable strides since then. Nadal, for his part, was still looking for his best form after his rib fracture. His preparation was complicated by a recurrence of his chronic foot injury. His form in Paris was, so far, unsatisfactory.
But this is Rafael Nadal. At Roland Garros. He is the man who has won 110 times at home with just three losses, which he has shown throughout his 17 years there that form and other frivolities have little relevance in the face of total and unprecedented dominance. In a match that began in May and ended in June, Nadal outclassed Djokovic in the opening stages, then absorbed multiple strong counterattacks and immense pressure before rising to win 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6. (4) after four hours and 11 minutes at 1:15 am local time.
Happy Wednesday everyone! Just 10 short hours and apparently only a dozen long blinks after John Brewin finally finished Rafael Nadal’s victory over Novak Djokovic …the overnight Roland Garros goblins have done their thing to get the Philippe-Chatrier court looking pristine again for another day of quarter-final action.
Here’s what awaits us during today’s daytime session:
order of play
(first match 11am BST, seeds in brackets)
Veronika Kudermetova (29) against Daria Kasatkina (20)
Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Jessica Pegula (11)
Andrey Rublev (7) vs. Marin Cilic (20)
Late night session, no earlier than 7:45pm BST
Casper Ruud (8) vs. Holger Rune