Djokovic and Nadal stay in hunt
Top seed Novak Djokovic’s bid for an 18th major trophy is on track, after he registered a grinding four-set victory over 17th seed Pablo Carreno Busta at the French Open on Wednesday.
The Serb was keen to make amends after being disqualified against the Spaniard in the fourth round of last month’s US Open and did so with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 result to book his 10th Roland-Garros semi-final berth.
Clay court master Rafael Nadal got past Italian rising star Jannik Sinner 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-1, as his quest for a record-extending 13th title here gathered momentum on Tuesday.
The Spaniard, also looking to match Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, was stretched by the 19-year-old Sinner as he set up a semi-final clash with Argentine Diego Schwartzman.
“Sinner is a very, very young talent with a lot of power and great shots. For two sets it was tough, especially in the second set I was lucky to be back,” said Nadal after the match, played in cold conditions that ended at 1.26 am local time, the latest finish at a French Open.
“The conditions were a little bit difficult, he was hitting every ball very hard and in this cold, my speed was not there. It was hard for me to put him out of position.
“Now I have two, well almost one and a half days, to rest and practise,” Nadal added.
Nadal, however, questioned French Open organisers’ decision to schedule no fewer than five matches on the same court over the day.
The 12-time Roland Garros champion was scheduled last on the main court and when he started his match the temperature was 13 degrees Centigrade with a cold wind sweeping the clay off the court. The roof was left open throughout.
“The weather... it’s too cold to play tennis. I know football players do it all the time, but they’re always moving while us tennis players, we stop, we come back, there’s the changeover,” Nadal said at a news conference after the match.
Nadal started his match at 10:36pm local time. “I really don’t know why they put five matches on the Chatrier today. That was a risk,” said the Spaniard.
“I saw (the risk) immediately yesterday when they sent me the schedule because there was a chance of a couple of long matches. That’s what happened.”
Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the second Grand Slam semi-final of his career on Wednesday, raising his game after a slow start to defeat Russian Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.
Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova put in a powerful display to brehunteze past unseeded German Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3 to reach her second semi-final here after a gap of eight years.
The 30-year-old, a two-times champion at Wimbledon, reached the last four stage on the clay courts at Roland Garros in 2012 and was yet to lose a set this year.
Roland Garros was where Kvitova made an emotional return to professional tennis three years back, after being sidelined for six months following a burglary attack that left her with a severely damaged left hand.
Siegemund, ranked 66th in the world, was appearing in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
The German gave a good account of her fighting spirit despite suffering a lower back problem midway through the second set.
Polish teenager Iga Swiatek recovered from a nervy start to outclass Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 and move into the semi-finals on Tuesday. She is the first Polish woman to reach the French Open semi-finals since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska was runner-up in 1939.
Sofia Kenin has never won a title on clay, but the American fourth seed beat compatriot Danielle Collins 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 on Wednesday to set up a meeting with Kvitova.