Home Sports Roland-Garros: what to remember from the day of Sunday May 29

Roland-Garros: what to remember from the day of Sunday May 29

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For the eighth day of Roland-Garros, eight matches will be played on the Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen courts. Defending champion Novak Djokovic will face Argentinian Diego Schwartzman (16th). For his part, King Nadal will be opposed to Félix Auger-Aliassime (9th). Follow the eighth day live on Europe 1.

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While no French are in the running, the first day of the round of 16 of the main tournament at Roland-Garros will offer eight matches to its spectators. Defending champion Novak Djokovic will face Argentinian Diego Schwartzman (16th). For his part, King Nadal will be opposed to Félix Auger-Aliassime (9th). The duel Carlos Alcaraz (6th) and Karen Khachanov (25th) in the night session is also to follow.

Follow this eighth day of Roland-Garros live thanks to our special correspondents on site and throughout the day on Europe 1, the tournament’s official radio.

Rafael Nadal reunites with Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals

Rafael Nadal, thirteen times titled at Roland-Garros, will find world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals on Tuesday after his victory snatched on Sunday against the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3 -6, 6-3 after four and a half hours of exchanges on an incandescent central court. Defending champion and winner of Nadal in the semi-finals last year, the Serb is launched in pursuit of the Majorcan in the hunt for the record of Grand Slam titles that the two monsters are engaged in (20 against 21).

“We know each other well. He comes after a title in Rome when I haven’t played much,” admitted ‘Rafa’. “But we are at Roland-Garros! I don’t know what will happen, but I will give everything I have.” ‘Nole’, ultra-dominant against Diego Schwartzman (6-1, 6-3, 6-3), saved more than the Spaniard, who spent more than double the time on the court (4h21) in his spectacular duel against Félix Auger-Aliassime, 9th player in the world.

It took all the Spaniard’s distinctive determination to overcome his uncle Toni Nadal’s protege. Like his fierce defense to force the break (2-1) in the third set, helped by a too long smash from ‘FAA’. One of the many points of anthology in this clash of generations, between the rising star of Montreal, 21, and the aging king of ocher, who will celebrate his 36th birthday on Friday.

“I didn’t start the match well,” said ‘Rafa’. “In the first set I couldn’t convert the chances I created. In the third I played better, but the start of the fourth was difficult. He has a big serve (194 km/h average speed on the first serve, editor’s note) and I couldn’t push him away. But at the end of the match I managed to be more aggressive, to get to the net, and that made the difference.”

A statistic describes the rarity of this Sunday’s event: in 112 Porte d’Auteuil games, it was only the Spaniard’s third in five sets. Two days before his face-to-face with ‘Djoko’ who remains on a victory against the Mallorcan in his Parisian garden – in the semi-finals last year – what stigma will this match leave?

Nadal, despite his coronation in Australia where Djokovic was missing, displays a worn body. A stress fracture in the ribs probably deprived him of a final victory in Indian Wells in March. Caught up by his chronic pain in his left foot due to osteonecrosis of the scaphoid bone (Muller-Weiss syndrome), he took the door in the round of 16 in Rome, the last tournament before Roland-Garros.

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The two giants have not faced each other so early in one of the four major tournaments since 2015. It was already at Roland-Garros and the Serb had won in three sets. The only other precedent was already Porte d’Auteuil: it was in 2006, during their first confrontation. It had turned to Nadal’s advantage.

Trevisan-Fernandez, first poster of the women’s quarter-finals

The Italian Martina Trevisan, 59th in the world, and the young Canadian Leylah Fernandez, 18th in the world at 19, will face each other in the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros. If the 28-year-old Italian had already reached this level of the competition two years ago when she left the qualifications, this is the first time that Fernandez, surprise finalist of the last US Open, will be there. Trevisan is the first to have won its qualification by taking the best of Belarus competing under a neutral banner Aliaksandra Sasnovich (47th) Sunday, 7-6 (12/10), 7-5.

“Paris is a bit like my second home, the atmosphere there is magical, I feel really good on the court”, she rejoiced on the court just after her victory, a huge smile on her lips. She wore that same smile just before playing her match point. “Smiling helps me in times of tension. It’s not always easy but it relaxes me,” she explained. After her victory last weekend in Rabat, the Italian is on her ninth victory in a row.

Fernandez needed three sets to defeat Amanda Anisimova (28th), who reached the Porte d’Auteuil half in 2019 when she was only 17, 6-3, 4- 6, 6-3. “It was a very complicated match, I knew she would make a lot of winning points and that I would have to stay positive to find solutions. I’m really very happy that I could beat her… and that I could play in front of Thierry Henry”, rejoiced the young Canadian just after the victory, visibly delighted with the presence in the stands of the Central of the former French footballer and ex-coach of CF Montreal.

Fernandez, former Porte d’Auteuil winner in juniors (2019), had already shown great tenacity in the previous round to beat the Olympic champion and 14th in the world, Belinda Bencic, coming back from 2 games to zero in the 3rd set to finally win after 2h49 of play. She is the 4th Canadian player to reach the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros, the last to date being Eugénie Bouchard in 2014.

Coco Gauff back in quarters

Like last year, Coco Gauff will be in the quarterfinals at Roland-Garros: the 18-year-old American dominated the Belgian Elise Mertens on Sunday, 6-4, 6-0 in less than 1h30. After a first set disputed for almost an hour, Gauff, 23rd in the world, did not leave a single game to his opponent. The American, the youngest competitor still in the running, will face either her compatriot Sloane Stephens (64th) or the Swiss Jil Teichmann (24th).

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Last year, Gauff, who had revealed herself in 2019 by reaching the knockout stages at Wimbledon at only 15 years old after qualifying, played her first Grand Slam quarter-finals at Porte d’Auteuil. She lost to the future winner, the Czech Barbora Krejcikova.

This year, she admits to being much more relaxed, indicating that she has learned from her past defeats. “I have confidence in myself, I have confidence in my game. I have the feeling that with each match, I am improving. (…) I want to savor the matches, to have control of my tennis, give the best of myself,” she said at a press conference.

Zverev, still in diesel mode, goes into quarters

The world No.3 Alexander Zverev, already hooked in the two previous rounds, still had to work to get rid 7-6 (13/11), 7-5, 6-3 of the Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata, 131st in the world, Sunday in the round of 16 at Roland-Garros. After a first round in less than two hours, the German had imposed a marathon of 3h36 in the 2nd round by going up two sets before dismissing the Argentinian Sebastian Baez (36th) 2-6, 4-6, 6- 1, 6-2, 7-5, not without saving a match point. And almost again in the next round, with three very tense sets against the American Brandon Nakashima (75th) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).

Zverev had then committed 50 unforced errors. Facing Zapata, John Isner’s scorer in the previous round, there were even more (63). But helped by his service (5 aces) and a slew of winning shots (34), the German finally got away with it in 2:45 against a Zapata who was probably a little blunted by the succession of matches since the start of qualifying. “He drove me a little crazy! He’s one of the fastest players I’ve seen on the circuit. He played the best tennis of his life (…) if he continues to play like that, I have no doubt that we will see him again very soon”, greeted Zverev at the end of the match.

Already last year, the world N.3 had been a little late in the ignition in the Parisian tournament, after having notably had to make up for a handicap of two sets against his compatriot Oscar Otte, before finally reaching the half- finals. In an attempt to do the same this year, the Olympic champion from Tokyo, still in search of his first Grand Slam title at 25, will be opposed to the winner of the meeting between Carlos Alcaraz (6th in the world) and the Russian under a neutral banner, Karen Khachanov (25th), opposed in the evening on the Central.

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