Following the withdrawal of Roger Federer, the spotlight is back on the rest of the field as top seeded Novak Djokovic and thirteen time champion Rafael Nadal have safely made it to the last eight at Roland Garros. The GenNext of tennis, second seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia, fifth seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and the sixth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany all looked in championship winning form following their straight sets wins on Sunday.
On an eagerly awaited day of matches on Monday, the 2016 champion Novak Djokovic found himself in a deep hole as he lost the opening two sets in tie-breaks to the 19 year old Italian Lorenzo Musseti. The Serb got off to a perfect start breaking Musseti in the second game of the match. The Italian broke in the fifth game and then in the ensuing tie-break came from 1-4 down to win the breaker 9-7. Musetti squandered an early break of serve in the second set but was dominant in the tie-break claiming it 7-2. Musetti who won 85 points in the first two sets faded completely and won only 14 points as Djokovic after taking a medical time out down by two sets began to assert himself on the 76th ranked Italian. From 3-1 up in the third set Djokovic won 28 out of the next 30 points as Musetti crumbled under the onslaught from the World number one ranked player who is bidding to become the only man in Open Era to win all four grand slams twice. Down 0-4 in the decider the Italian retired due to cramps and pain in the lower back.
Djokovic who was drawn to meet Roger Federer in the quarter finals, next plays another Italian Matteo Berretini in the last eight, after the 2009 champion conceded a walkover to the ninth seeded Matteo Berretini of Italy. Third seeded Nadal as broken twice in both the opening sets but reeled off eight consecutive games from 3-5 down in the first set and 4-3 in the second set as he dominated the other Italian prodigy Jannik Sinner, seeded eighteen. Sinner lost serve in the second game of the match, but then broke twice to take a 4-2 lead. The Italian teenager was broken at love while serving for the opening set in the ninth game. Nadal went from 3-5 down to take the first set 7-5 and also took the first four games of the second set. The Italian looked like he was back in the match as he broke back twice in the second set. However the thirteen time champion from Spain then reeled of another eight games from 4-3 to complete a ,7-5,6-3,6-0 win over Sinner.
Nadal will now face the tenth seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman who recovered from a 1-5 deficit in the opening set against the unseeded German Jan Lennard Struff. The 28 year old Argentine saved 4 set points down 1-5 in the opening set, then one more at 2-5 on serve and one more at 3-5 before taking the enthralling first set in a tie-break 11-9. Despite squandering a 4-0 lead in the third set, Schwartzman completed a 7-6(9),6-4,7-5 to reach the last eight in Paris for the third time in his career.
It was all smooth sailing for the trio of Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Zverev as they were barely tested in the fourth round of matches on Sunday. Second seed Daniil Medvedev continued his great form as he crushed the 22nd seeded Christian Garin of Chile ,6-2,6-1,7-5. Fifth seeded Stitsipas completely outplayed the capable 12th seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-3,6-2,7-5. Tsitsipas only faultered briefly in the beginning of the third set but recovered to beat the two time quarter finalist. In the night session sixth seeded Alexander Zverev made short work if forner world number Four Kei Nishikori of Japan.
The remaining match between the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and the Argentine Federico Delbonis also looked like a straight sets win for the tireless Spaniard who took the first two sets but not before dropping serve in the second set. The left handed Delbonis took advantage of his tiring opponent who had two five set wins in previous rounds as reduced the deficit by taking the third set 6-4. Fokina was not to be denied as he advanced with a 6-4,6-4,4-6,6-4 win to enter his maiden quarter final at a grand slam.
Following is the line up for the quarter finals, with my pick mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Matteo Berretini (9)
Rafael Nadal (3) v. Diego Schwartzman (10)
Steanos Tsitsipas (5) v. Danill Medvedev (2)
Alexander Zverev (6) v. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (-)