Roland-Garros: Djokovic, Alcaraz and Sabalenka do not tremble

Une week after the start of the tournament, it’s already time for the round of 16 at Roland-Garros. In both men and women, a few favorites were on the program for this eighth day of competition. We take stock.

Among men, the favorites ensure

Karen Khachanov (11e world player) will not have trembled and is the first to win his ticket for the quarter-finals, 1/6, 6/4, 7/6 (7), 6/1. Largely dominated by the Italian Lorenzo Sonego (48e) in the first set, the 27-year-old Russian took time to get into the game, before overturning the match at the end of the third set, after a disputed tie-break. Semi-finalist at the Australian Open earlier this year, Karen Khachanov will meet Novak Djokovic in the next round.

Because the Serb did not miss his appointment either. Thanks to his victory 6/3, 6/2, 6/2 against Préuvion Juan-Pablo Varillas (94e), “Djoko” (3e) reached this stage of the competition in Paris for the 17th time, a record. “I’m very proud, but that means I’m not young! “, quipped the 36-year-old Serb about this record, obtained by playing his “best tennis since the start of the tournament”. Juan Pablo Varillas can console himself by saying that he is the first Peruvian to reach the round of 16 at Roland-Garros since Jaime Yzaga in 1994.

The other main favourite, Carlos Alcaraz (1e) won his match against Lorenzo Musetti (18e) on the same score, 6/3, 6/2, 6/2. Qualified, the Spaniard equals his best result on Parisian clay. “I played at a great level, my shots were of high quality, I played a really complete match, from the first to the last point, I’m very happy to have passed this really difficult round”, he said. he analyzed at the end of the match.

To join the last four, it will be necessary to overthrow Stefanos Tsitsipas (5e), winner of the Austrian Sebastian Ofner (118th and from qualifying), 7/5, 6/3, 6/0. The 24-year-old Greek, finalist in 2021, will play his seventh Grand Slam quarter-final on this occasion, the third at Roland-Garros. He reached the final in Australia in January, where he was dominated by Djokovic, and did not win a title this year on clay, his favorite surface. He was thus eliminated in the quarters in Monte-Carlo where he was double defending champion, in the final in Barcelona, ​​in the quarters in Madrid and in the semis in Rome.

For women, two surprises

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (333e), out of the circuit for most of the 2022 season due to a long-term left knee injury, is back in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros after her victory against Belgian Elise Mertens (28e) 3/6, 7/6(3), 6/3. “I’m super happy to be here on this Center court again, after my injury I hardly played for a year, it’s exceptional, incredible for me,” she said.

She will face the Czech Karolina Muchova (43e) which put an end to the unexpected career of the Russian lucky loser Elina Avanesyan (134e), 6/4, 6/3. With this victory, Muchova climbs for the first time in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros. She had never passed the third round there before the 2023 edition.

READ ALSORoland-Garros: how the FFT protects players from cyberbullyingFor her part, the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina (192e) confirmed his return to the fore by reaching the quarters of Roland-Garros thanks to his victory against the Russian Daria Kasatkina (9e) 6/4, 7/6(5). As expected, the two players did not shake hands at the end of the match, Daria Kasatkina going directly to greet the chair umpire before giving Svitolina a thumbs-up in congratulations on her victory. The Russian has repeatedly taken a stand against the Russian-led war in Ukraine, and accepts the fact that Ukrainian women do not greet Russians or Belarusians at the end of matches.

Finally, the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (2e) beat American Sloane Stephens (30e) 7/6(5), 6/4. Winner of the Australian Open in January, Aryna Sabalenka is the main rival of defending champion Iga Swiatek (1e) in the race for the trophy this year in Paris, especially since the package before her third round of the Kazakh Elena Rybakina (4e). Despite an air pocket, the 25-year-old proved on Sunday that she had not lost her tennis when she seemed to have been psychologically affected by the insistence of some journalists to question her on her position regarding the war in Ukraine and its relations with the authoritarian Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko.

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