French Open has moved into the second week of action and the matches come in thick and fast with the tussles getting even more tougher than they were already. At least for some. Seven of the players in the men’s quarterfinals players are from inside the top-8 seeds while on the women’s side, there will be a Grand Slam winner for the very first time as the average age of the quarterfinalists dropped in the absence of Serena Williams and/or Angleique Kerber.
On Tuesday, Day 10, at French Open, play begins later than usual with the draw dwindled down. It starts off with Philippe-Chatrier Court hosting Kristina Mladenovic against Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky and follows it up with Rafael Nadal taking on Pablo Carreno Busta. Over on Suzanne-Lenglen Court, Jelena Ostapenko gets the ball rolling when she takes on Caroline Wozniacki. That would be followed by Dominic Thiem facing Novak Djokovic.
Crowd aiding Mladenovic forward
It is no secret that home crowd makes a difference in sports and a perfect example of it has come at the French Open. The Parisian crowd have cheered loudly and besides spurring Mladenovic on, have had a demoralising effect on the opposition. Kristina was down 2-5 in the third set against Shelby Rogers before coming back and reduced defending champion Garbine Muguruza to tears in the post match press conference. The hoots, the jeers, the loud chants of ‘Kiki! Kiki!’, the roaring reception for Mladenovic and the whistles on a point going to the opponent have all been seen in Paris. Arguably no crowd at any Grand Slam is as hostile as Paris is and it spares no one – not even defending champions. For the French crowd, the eventual target is to see first Frenchwoman lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Mary Pierce did in 2000. But Bacsinszky won’t be an easy one to beat. 30th seed Bacsinszky, like Mladenovic, is multilingual and tried to play down the effect of what the Frenchwoman yells out loud and what language it is in. “If she wants to cheer herself up in Hungarian, I mean, do it. I mean, what’s happening on the other side is happening on the other side. I’m focusing more on my side. I’m focusing on my game more than how, what am I gonna say if I win a point. It’s a great challenge,” she said.
Huge ask for Ostapenko against former World No 1
Three of four matches that Wozniacki has played at French Open have gone to three sets and it is after she won the first set. Maybe its good for her form that she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the recent match which puts her in plenty of form against 19-year-old Ostapenko – the youngest player left in the draw. The unseeded Latvian also stitched together a massive win in her fourth round for she oversaw the challenge of former runner-up Sam Stosur and struck a sensational 46 winners.
Rafael Nadal looks to keep tenth title dream alive
Nadal has played fellow Spaniard Carreno Busta thrice and come out victorious all three times. Two of these meetings have been on clay and both of them came at Rio de Janeiro and both were finished in straight sets. The other meeting was on hard court which was stretched to the deciding set. Nadal has dropped the least games in the men’s draw at just 20 so a win – a relatively straightforward one, shouldn’t be out of question.
Can Thiem bother Djokovic after Rome debacle?
After a very long time, Djokovic looks close to his usual best. He is hitting groundstrokes with plenty of venom in them and the mental drain is gone. The concerns after ankle injury and dip in form look to have been addressed by the Serbian and new part-time coach Andre Agassi (who is not with Nole in the second week). Last time these two met, Djokovic dropped just a single game in a 6-1, 6-0 thrashing of the Austrian. But things have changed since. Thiem has not dropped a set so far in Paris and has had the time to relax after that semi in Rome. “I have to change something compared to the last matches,” Thiem, the youngest of the quarter-finalists, said. “I will talk to my coach, to my team. Then maybe change something up and hope I play a good match.”