The last 16 at the 2021 French Open is in the books. I had a day off from the tennis on Sunday and came back to a few surprises as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elena Rybakina defeated Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams respectively. Monday’s day matches were all disappointingly one-sided. I’m glad the night session was better. Read on for Monday’s diary from Paris…
Day 9️⃣ Highlights
(24) Coco Gauff d. (25) Ons Jabeur, 6-3 6-1
I’m not sure I can remember Gauff having a better serving day than this? The serve has been a talking point for a while. In this match, Gauff lost just nine points on serve and didn’t hit one double fault. It was a super sharp and clean display from Gauff who seems to be finding her A-game, surely helped by the sheer number of matches she has played on clay this year.
Tough one for Jabeur. As well as Gauff played, Jabeur came out looking tense and put very little pressure on Gauff, going out with barely a whimper in the second set. It was still a decent tournament for Jabeur to reach the second week having been injured in the lead-up to the clay court season. Gauff marches on…
(17) Maria Sakkari d. (4) Sofia Kenin, 6-1 6-3
There are six first time Slam quarter-finalists in this year’s French Open. Tennis Twitter is reporting that this is an Open Era record! I think the least surprising of those six players is probably Sakkari who has been knocking on the door at the Slams for a while.
The result was more one-sided than expected. Kenin was a missing machine and could barely rally for more than four or five shots before hitting an error or impatiently going down-the-line for a winner. Kenin wasn’t able to rely on her serve either with nine double faults. On the other hand, Sakkari lost just four points behind her first serve all match.
There was a little wobble from Sakkari at the end where she tightened and Kenin stopped missing for a game or two. Kenin had game points at *3-5 *40-15. Nice to see Sakkari acknowledge that she needed to do more with the ball as she won the last four points including two crashing forehand winners.
Very happy for Maria!
(8) Iga Swiatek d. Marta Kostyuk, 6-3 6-4
Best match of the day by a hugeeeee distance although it didn’t have much competition! I thought Kostyuk gave a great account of herself and it was an excellent contest. The first set was tight. Six of the nine games went to deuce. Kostyuk had two break points at 3-3 and had a decent opening with a forehand that she pushed long. Swiatek was just so calm, so measured and managed the set with such poise.
Kostyuk competed well and stayed reasonably close with Swiatek in the second set. No-one else has done it. Swiatek is still yet to drop a set!!! Remarkable. I can’t throw enough superlatives at what Swiatek is doing right now. That match point as well…
Best of the rest 🎾
I couldn’t believe Sloane Stephens was the outsider against Barbora Krejcikova. Wellll… misjudged that one as Krejcikova thrashed Stephens, 6-2 6-0! I like Barbora’s game and she’s on one hell of a run right now.
Best point 🎾
This was a sensational point in the Swiatek-Kostyuk match.
Favourite snap 📸
Press musings 📰
Via WTA Insider, Krejcikova was feeling in a bad way mentally before the match. Extraordinary how things unfolded and goes to show that you just never how a player is feeling and what is going through their head.
Recommended media 📺
Gauff in her post-match interview 😂 .
Day 10 watchlist 📺
(21) Elena Rybakina vs. (31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
(33) Paula Badosa vs. Tamara Zidansek