Un, Deux, Trois: Final French hope falls; Nishikori hangs on; doubles

Un, Deux, Trois: Final French hope falls; Nishikori hangs on; doubles

The quarterfinals are set after Day 9 at Roland Garros.

It was another action-packed day at Roland Garros, with some players battling through their fourth-rounder, and others cruising into the quarterfinals. Without further adieu, the three takeaways from Day 9:

1. Nishikori overcomes Paire in topsy-turvy clash

Kei Nishikori improved his five-set record to 23-6 after holding off home favorite Benoit Paire, 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-7 (8), 7-5. Nishikori has reached the French Open quarterfinals three times in five years and will look to surpass his best previous best showing. 

Reaching his first semifinal won't be an easy task. The 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal awaits and has shown no signs of slowing down on his path towards another trophy. Nishikori will need to get off to a quick start as he did against Paire, and can't afford to let up. He must commit to staying aggressive, as he has spent much more time on court than Nadal. Out of their 12 meetings, Nishikori has walked away as the winner just twice. 

2. Thiem eliminates final French hopeful

Dominic Thiem tamed Frenchman Gael Monfils, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, to reach the quarterfinals once again. Thiem was reminiscent of a calm storm that quickly ended Monfils' run by ending points efficiently and controlling point construction from start to finish. 

New coach Liam Smith has pushed Monfils to implement a more collected style of play. plays some of his best tennis when he's fired up and uses the crowd to jolt his intensity. But it almost seemed as if Monfils was too reserved and lacked energy. Thiem played excellent tennis, made less errors, and dashed France's hopes of ending their 36-year wait for a home men's champion. 

The world No. 4 is looking to make his return to the Roland Garros final after coming up just short in last year's championship match against Rafael Nadal. This clay-court season, Thiem captured the Barcelona title, beating Nadal in the semifinals, and ousted Roger Federer in Madrid. Thiem will be satisfied with his comprehensive win over Monfils, having relinquished a set in his first three matches in Paris.

3. Singles stars readjust goals on doubles court

Australian Open champions Samantha Stosur and Shuai Zhang came through a matchup of four singles standouts, rallying past Victoria Azarenka and Ashleigh Barty, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. They'll take on another past Grand Slam champion duo of singles players in the quarterfinals when they face Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who advanced on Sunday. 

Having captured the 'Sunshine Double' earlier this year in Indian Wells and Miami, Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens are well on their way to pulling off another big title run. The tandem defeated Americans Jessica Pegula and Desirae Krawczyk, 7-5, 6-2, to stay on course for their first Grand Slam trophy. 


Catch up on Week 1 at Roland Garros on the TENNIS.com Podcast: