Ruud roars, Jabeur and Świątek soar into French Open quarters
But there was also drama in the form of a double bounce and a missed handshake, as the French Open entered the business end, with the last eight in the women’s and men’s draw finalised.
Casper Ruud continued his bid to reach back-to-back finals at the French Open by fending off Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in a 7-6(3) 7-5 7-5 fourth-round win on Monday as Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur too stayed on course for a maiden Grand Slam crown.
Alexander Zverev hardly broke sweat in the night session to seal a 6-1 6-4 6-3 win over Bulgarian 28th seed Grigor Dimitrov and set up a showdown with Argentinian Tomás Martin Etcheverry.
Ruud, who has only dropped two sets in four matches so far, faced a tricky test against lanky clay court specialist Jarry but pulled through in three hours and 20 minutes as his opponent failed to make his chances count in the last two sets.
“If we had gone five sets I don’t know how long we would have played,” said Ruud on Court Philippe Chatrier. “I have to thank my team for pushing me in practice. I did the work and physically I was ready for more.”
He next meets Holger Rune in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal after the Dane got a helping hand from the umpire with a missed but glaring double bounce to battle past Argentinian Francisco Cerúndolo 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4 1-6 7-6(7).
Etcheverry reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 7-6(8) 6-0 6-1 victory over Yoshihito Nishioka, the 27th seed.
Jabeur moved into the quarterfinals at the clay court major for the first time with a 6-3 6-1 victory over American Bernarda Pera and hoped that the romantic atmosphere of Paris will help her quest for a first Grand Slam title.
“Paris is always romantic, day or night. Winning here will definitely be an amazing memory for me,” said Jabeur, who became the first African player to reach the quarters at each of the four majors in the Open Era.
The Tunisian had reached the Australian Open quarterfinal in 2020 and finished runner-up to Elena Rybakina and Iga Świątek in the Wimbledon and US Open title clashes in 2022.
I believe… a lot of injuries are connected to our emotional part. I’m trying to manage that.
The 28-year-old is not getting complacent before her clash with 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, who beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-7(3) 6-3 7-5 to become the first Brazilian woman since Maria Bueno in 1968 to make the quarterfinals of a major. She got there in three hours and 51 minutes – the longest women’s match of the tournament.
Jabeur has endured a stop-start season in which she had minor knee surgery before winning the Charleston title and skipping Madrid with a calf problem.
“For now, I just want to take it one match at a time,” added Jabeur. “I will have a very difficult quarterfinal. I was just taking it one match at a time, trying to make it to the second week. Now I’m going to push more for the next few matches.
I was booed for just being respectful on my opponent’s position not to shake hands.
“I have learned a lot how to accept things, either good or bad. For me, being injured was part of my path, how the season would have started here this year.
“I worked a lot on my mental health and worked a lot on how to manage all this, because I believe… a lot of injuries are connected to our emotional part. I’m trying to manage that.
“The season is still long, so hopefully no more injuries and I can continue in a great path.”
Gauff books rematch
Last year’s runner-up, Coco Gauff, outclassed Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlová 7-5 6-2 in windy conditions to reach the quarterfinals where she will face holder Świątek in a rematch of the 2022 final.
Poland’s top seed Świątek set up the blockbuster meeting when her ailing fourth-round opponent Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine retired while down 5-1 in the first set after she called on the trainer and had her blood pressure checked.
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Russian Daria Kasatkina said she left the tournament with a sense of bitterness after being booed off by the crowd following her fourth-round defeat by Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina on Sunday.
“Leaving Paris with a very bitter feeling. All these days, after every match I’ve played in Paris I always appreciated and thanked the crowd for their support and being there for the players,” Kasatkina wrote on Twitter.
“But yesterday I was booed for just being respectful on my opponent’s position not to shake hands. Me and Elina showed respect to each other after a tough match, but leaving the court like that was the worst part of yesterday.
“Be better, love each other. Don’t spread hate.”
Danish sixth seed Rune got a helping hand from the umpire with a missed but glaring double bounce to battle past Cerúndolo 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4 1-6 7-6(7) on Monday and reach the French Open last eight for the second year in a row.
Rune, who won a tight match in five sets, was 2-1 up and 40-all in the third set when he clearly failed to get to the ball in time. But the second bounce was not picked up by chair umpire Kader Nouni despite being clearly visible.
Rune did not say anything and Cerúndolo was furious with the decision.
“When I was hitting the ball, I didn’t know, I just ran for it,” Rune said. “But then obviously when I saw it, after he did call it, I saw it after the next point on the TV, and I saw it was a double bounce.
It was a huge mistake. It was unbelievable with the double bounce. The umpire has to check it again.
“But the point already happened and he called the score. I felt sorry. Sorry for him (Cerúndolo). Then I managed to break him. I held serve. Then after he broke me it was close again.”
A fuming Cerúndolo, who told the umpire he would get him fined, eventually lost the set. He did battle back to win the fourth but Rune snatched the quarterfinal spot with a 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4 1-6 7-6(7) victory.
“Some umpires make mistakes. Some for me, some for him. That’s life,” Rune said.
The Argentinian called it a “huge mistake” by the umpire.
“It was a huge mistake. It was unbelievable with the double bounce,” Cerúndolo said. “The umpire has to check it again. It is tough to give the point away.
“It was a tough moment. He (Rune) was not good not to give me the point, but I understand it with the tension.
“They have to do something with the cameras because you cannot do that mistake. For sure I wish he (Rune) would have given it… if he saw it is bad for him. If he didn’t see it and it was after, I understand.”
But he said it did not hugely affect his performance after he battled back to win the fourth set. Reuters/DM