Roland à la loupe : Résumé en chiffres, en lettres et en images de cette 9ème journée #RG17 https://t.co/cWub4mZhg7 pic.twitter.com/WEHbLIXDPY— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 5, 2017
I don't take much interest in tennis handshakes (that is, unless Professor Strycova is demonstrating); I think way too much is read into them by fans. But the handshake, and everything that went with it, after today's all-French round of 16 match did make me smile. I know she's a controversial figure (not with me--I could watch her every day), but I've always felt that Alize Cornet had a good heart, and at the end of today's match, she displayed it. Caroline Garcia, for her part, was warmly receptive.
Both Cornet and Parmentier, I imagine, momentarily got caught up in the "bash Caroline" campaign that occurred right before Fed Cup competition. The new head of the French Federation turned a routine Fed Cup disappointment (it happens all the time, with every team) into a chance to redefine patriotism (the current White House has a lot of vacancies--maybe he should apply) and go all judgmental and authoritarian. Garcia was the victim, and it doesn't take a Ph.D. in psychology to figure out who the instigator was.
Anyway, Garcia won in straight sets, and her "airplane" may have flown a bit lighter today after that post-match meeting at the net. This is the first time the French Fed Cup star has reached the singles quarterfinals of a major.
The Frenchwoman's opponent in the quarterfinals will be Karolina Pliskova, the reluctant clay court winner. Now that Pliskova has gotten the hang of this winning thing, she just keeps doing it. But Veronica Cepede Royg didn't make it easy for the Long Tall One. She took the first set 6-2, but then Pliskova was able to adapt better, and to take control of the match, winning it 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
.@ElinaSvitolina roars into the quarterfinals with a comeback win. Read how she did it --> https://t.co/hB9vhX6uuU #RG17 pic.twitter.com/jEppyxNPjE— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 5, 2017
Simona Halep, looking very much like The Boss, dismantled clay court notable Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-1, 6-1. Halep has yet to drop a set. She next meets Elina Svitolina, who rose from the dead in her round of 16 match against qualifier Petra Martic. Martic--just returning to the tour after a long injury layoff--went up 6-4, 3-6, 5-2 against the Ukrainian star, and then saw Svitolina go down 0-30.
Svitolina held, and that was all it took to bring Martic down to clay Earth. She lost her nerve, Svitolina smelled it--you know how it goes. Svitolina prevailed, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. A more experienced player, say, someone like Simona Halep, would not have caved. This makes Svitolina--depending on your perspective--either a gifted, mentally tough escape artist or a (insert creature of choice) on thin ice. Stay tuned.
And since it wouldn't be a French Open blog post without Kiki Mladenovic, here's the latest news: She's out of doubles. Mladenovic and Kuznetsova were defeated in straight sets in the third round today by top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.
Tomorrow, Mladenovic faces off against Timea Bacsinszky, and Jelena Ostapenko challenges Caroline Wozniacki.
The final seven nations represented:
France: Mladenovic and Garcia
Czech Republic: Pliskova