French Open

Sinner, Swiatek take contrasting routes to French Open quarters as Alcaraz, Gauff also advance


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Sinner, Swiatek take contrasting routes to French Open quarters as Alcaraz, Gauff also advance

ADVANCING. Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates after winning his fourth round match against France's Corentin Moutet in the 2024 French Open.

Yves Herman/REUTERS

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz stay on track in their quest to rule the French Open for the first time, while defending champion Iga Swiatek and former finalist Coco Gauff also reach the quarterfinals

PARIS, France – Jannik Sinner took time to get his engine going before motoring into the French Open quarterfinals, while defending champion Iga Swiatek raced through on Sunday, June 2 (Monday, June 3, Manila time), as scheduling at the Grand Slam came under scrutiny after Novak Djokovic’s overnight marathon.

Second seed Sinner kept his hopes of taking Djokovic’s top ranking alive with a battling 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over local favorite Corentin Moutet in front of partisan fans on Court Philippe Chatrier.

With Roland Garros still abuzz after an epic duel where Djokovic prevailed after the tournament’s latest finish at just past 3 am local time, Swiatek provided a masterclass to beat Anastasia Potapova, 6-0, 6-0, in 40 minutes.

American Coco Gauff was not as ruthless as her Polish rival but equally efficient as she powered past Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 6-1, 6-2, in an hour before Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrousova mowed down Serbian Olga Danilovic, 6-4, 6-2.

Ons Jabeur continued her quest to win an elusive maiden Grand Slam by taking out Danish player Clara Tauson, 6-4, 6-4, before breaking into a song with her fans as matches were wrapped up in double quick time.

It was a largely a similar tune on the men’s side too, as third seed Carlos Alcaraz thumped Felix Auger-Aliassime, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1, to set up a rematch of his 2023 quarterfinal with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Matteo Arnaldi, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-2.

“I love these kinds of matches,” Alcaraz said. “Hopefully the crowd enjoys (it) as much as I’m going to. Let’s see how it’s going to be.”

Alcaraz’s entertaining win meant the entire day session for singles on Court Philippe Chatrier was completed in exactly 4 hours, 29 minutes less than Djokovic needed to defeat Italian Lorenzo Musetti in a five-setter overnight.

Scheduling rethink

The late finish came under criticism as Swiatek and Gauff said that Grand Slams needed a scheduling rethink.

There were more complaints on social media as fans were left twiddling their thumbs for hours before the night session, where Sinner sent the last local hope Moutet packing.

“I was always one of the players that said that we should start a little bit earlier,” Swiatek said of the Djokovic match.

“I don’t know if fans are watching these matches if they have to go to work next day when the matches are finishing at 2 or 3 am”

Organizers were forced to add a match on the main showcourt before Djokovic played due to rain delays.

“It’s a complicated thing, but for the health and safety of the players, it would be in the sport’s best interest to try to avoid those matches finishing – or starting – after a certain time,” Gauff said.

Grigor Dimitrov later showed it was never too late to break new ground, as the in-form Bulgarian 10th seed outlasted Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (3) to reach his first quarterfinal at the French Open and complete his set of Grand Slam last eight appearances. –

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