Welcome to the second week of the 2019 French Open. The first three singles matches produced first-time French Open quarter-finalists, while the fourth match saw last year’s finalist, Sloane Stephens, lay down a marker to the rest of the field. There was a big gap between the first three and last women’s match so I was watching bits of Wawrinka-Tsitsipas which was a great match! Back to work tomorrow – less matches now so at least easier to catch up in the evening! Read on for the highlights of day 8 at Roland Garros.
Match reviews 🎾
Marketa Vondrousova d. Anastasija Sevastova, 6-2 6-0
Yet to drop a set at this tournament, Marketa Vondrousova cruised into her first Slam quarter-final in under an hour against a very erratic, Anastasija Sevastova. The Latvian player looked a tad spent from her three hour plus thriller on Friday against Elise Mertens. Sevastova just couldn’t hit through a supremely solid, Vondrousova. In the battle of the drop shots, it was Vondrousova who came out on top with Sevastova sending many of her droppers into the net.
Vondrousova’s form has been remarkably consistent since February and she has now reached at least the quarter-finals in her last six tournaments! I still can’t believe she’s only 18.
Petra Martic d. Kaia Kanepi, 5-7 6-2 6-4
Fifth time’s the charm for Martic! The Croatian player advanced to her first ever Slam quarter-final, recovering from a set down and then 0-2 down in both the second and third sets to edge, Kaia Kanepi. It was a bit of a scrappy seesaw affair but entertaining nonetheless. The pair traded lengthy games at 3-3 and 4-3 in the final set. Martic crucially saved four break points at 4-3 and then ran away with the last two games.
I felt some nerves from Martic in this match but she fought valiantly and didn’t allow an at-times peaking, Kanepi to get too far ahead in the score. I think that breaking through that last 16 barrier is huge for Petra.
Johanna Konta d. Donna Vekic, 6-2 6-4
Johanna Konta produced another superb performance to reach her first quarter-final at the French Open with a straight sets win over Donna Vekic. Previously, Konta had never won a main draw singles match at the French Open. Now she’s won four and is looking strong in this bottom half of the draw. Konta simply played a better match than Vekic – more aggressive, more winners and much more successful behind her first serve.
Konta failed to consolidate her break at 4-3 in the second set but broke Vekic again in the next game and then played a sensational game to serve out the match. I do tend to wince when Konta drop shots but she produced a couple of beauts towards the end and served out to love. The wins in Fed Cup were clearly huge for Jo and have given her so much confidence. I feel like she has added a lot more variety and versatility to her game this year.
Sloane Stephens d. Garbiñe Muguruza, 6-4 6-3
The last match of the day was definitely the best of the lot as Sloane Stephens produced arguably her best display of the entire year to beat Garbiñe Muguruza. Muguruza was fast out from the blocks and had five break points for a double break first set lead. Stephens saved all of them with first serves in. That game crucially allowed Stephens a foothold into the match and she went onto to win five of the last six games to win the first set. Muguruza was bold, going for the lines, but started to miss more towards the end of the set with Stephens upping the intensity on her strokes.
There have been a few matches this year where Stephens has won the opener and then become increasingly passive. I didn’t feel that today. In fact, she started to inject more pace on her groundstrokes. It’s the best i’ve seen her hit the ball all year and she was rock solid on serve, perhaps helped out by Muguruza not landing enough returns in. I thought Muguruza did well just to stay in touch. The Spaniard got bogged down in the rallies. I would have liked to see Muguruza try and get forward more often but then again, when she did try, she got hosed at the net.
The final game was fantastic. This match featured some stunning ballstriking. Stephens missed multiple match points serving out the match in the second set against Polona Hercog. Four slipped by in this match, several saved with gutsy down-the-line strikes by Muguruza, but Stephens sealed the win on her fifth.
This was a marker laid down by Sloane. She’s in it to win it!
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
You likely wouldn’t have guessed who had won or lost the match from these pictures.
LOL moment 🤣
Wait for it… 😂
Press highlights 📰
Recommended reading 📚
Get to know Iga Swiatek who plays Simona Halep in the last 16 tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
The second slate of last 16 matches will be played on Monday. Who you got?