Monday, June 21, 2021

Rafael Nadal enters quarterfinals of French open; Maria Sakkari becomes first Greek woman to reach Grand Slam singles quarter-final

In the French Open Tennis tournament, 13-time champion Spaniard Rafael Nadal kept teenager Jannik Sinner’s title aspirations in check by defeating the world No. 19 Italian 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 to book a spot in the quarter-finals. Nadal, the four-time defending champion, will now clash with 10th seed Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, who hit sublime form as he overcame Germany’s world No. 42 Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (9), 6-4, 7-5 to make the last-eight grade. The win also means Nadal and Djokovic are on a collision course in the semi-final.

Earlier, Djokovic came back from a two-set deficit to overcome Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti who retired in the fifth set after trailing 6-7 (7), 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0 in three hours and 27 minutes. Djokovic will take on Italy’s ninth seed Matteo Berrettini, who got a walkover after Swiss ace Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament on Sunday, for a place in the semi-finals.

Prior to this, No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev thrashed Kei Nishikori in straight sets 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 to enter the last eight at the Roland Garros.

In the women’s section, world No. 18 Greek Maria Sakkari secured a spot in her first Grand Slam quarter-finals defeating last year’s runners-up and world No. 5 Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and eight minutes. Sakkari becomes the first Greek woman to reach a Grand Slam singles quarter-final. She will meet the winner of the clash between defending champion Iga Swiatek of Poland and Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk.

American teenager Coco Gauff played an inspired game as she breezed past Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-1 to reach her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinals. No. 24 seed Coco, at 17 years and 86 days old, is the youngest player to make a major quarter-final since the Czech Republic’s Nicole Vaidisova, who made it to the last eight at the French Open in 2006. Coco will next face fellow first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.

Barbora crushed Sloane Stephens of the USA 6-2, 6-0 in under an hour.

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