Monday, June 7, 2021

Swiatek advances to French Open quarterfinals in both singles and doubles

Iga Swiatek, French Open defending champion in singles, has--so far--continued her 2020 pattern of not dropping a set. The Swiss player reached the quarterfinals today with a win over Marta Kostyuk. She has dropped a set in doubles, but that only made the story better. Swiatek and partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands took out the top seeds in the third round, and it took them over three hours to do it--oh, and they had to save seven match points.

It was also a very good day for the revelatory Czech doubles star, Barbora Krejcikova, who defeated 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-0. And while Krejcikova's rise may be the most dramatic, this year's French Open action has provided a platform for rising stars to shine. Maria Sakkari, whose climb up the rankings has been steady, reached her first major quarterfinal today with her straight-set defeat of 2020 runner-up Sofia Kenin, and Coco Gauff reached her first major quarterfinal when she defeated On Jabeur.

And yesterday, Spain's red-hot Paula Badosa defeated 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova. And let's not forget Tamara Zidansek, who may be 2021's "out of nowhere" player. Zidansek advanced to the quarterfinals when she defeated Sorana Cirstea, who has recently had a resurgence. Then there's Elena Rybakina, on whom we've had an eye for some time. The young Kazakhstani player earned her ticket to the quarterfinals with an upset of three-time champion Serena Williams. 

Finally, in her own "out of nowhere" fashion, Russian veteran Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has returned to the French Open quarterfinals for the first time in ten years, and she did it by upsetting Vika Azarenka, whom she had never before beaten (her one victory was due to Azarenka's retirement).

Not all of the news involves singles play. As noted above, the most thrilling doubles match of the tournament up to this point (and probably up to any point) was the third round upset of top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens by 14th seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek. 

And Diede De Groot is Diede De Great again. The Dutch wheelchair star was victorious in both singles and doubles. De Groot defeated Yumi Kamiji to win the singles titles, and she and partner Aniek Van Koot won the doubles title. This is De Groot's second French Open singles title, and her fourth doubles title. It's also her second time to sweep both titles.

Here is the quarterfinal singles draw:

Coco Gauff (24) vs. Barbora Krejcikova
Maria Sakkari (17) vs. Iga Swiatek (8)
Elena Rybakina (21) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (31)
Tamara Zidansek vs. Paula Badosa (33)

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