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Passport to RG, Day 8—Zverev out, has "fever"; Thiem survives in five
"I'm not in the best physical state, I would say. I think that had a little bit of an effect on the match today," Alexander Zverev said Sunday after being defeated by Jannik Sinner.
Published Oct 04, 2020
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Following Alexander Zverev's fourth-round press conference, where the No. 6 seed cited "a fever" as a contributing factor to his loss (see further down), the FFT responded with this statement:
"Zverev is up to date on his tests, which have all been negative. His last test was on September 29, with results received on September 30. Today he received a reminder for his next test, to be carried out within five days of the previous results. He did not consult the tournament doctors before his match."
What a test, and what a way to close out the day. Second seed Dominic Thiem survives in five, 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, in three hours and 32 minutes over wild card Hugo Gaston.
Gaston had a game point to reach 4-4 in the decider, but Dominic Thiem's forehand came up clutch in successive points to create the first break point of the set. A rare miss on a forehand drop shot from Gaston enabled Thiem to break, and in a testing finish, where a double fault handed the Frenchman a chance to get back on serve, the US Open champion dug in to finally shut the door.
"I think it was an amazing match by both of us. Such good fighting qualities by him," Thiem said in an on-court interview. "Haven't seen for a very long time a player with such a big touch in his hands. His drop shots are just from another planet. I was sprinting like 400 times to the net. All the credit to him."
The US Open champion now has a career-best win streak, notching his 11th consecutive win. A two-time finalist in Paris, Thiem will take on good friend Diego Schwartzman for a semifinal berth. Schwartzman maintained his own run of form by defeating Lorenzo Sonego, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4. The Argentine, who ousted Rafael Nadal on his way to September's Rome final, is into the last eight for the second time in three years.
No opportunities yet for either Dominic Thiem or Hugo Gaston to strike first in their fifth set. Reminder: there is no final set tiebreaker or shortened format at Roland Garros. They will play on as long as necessary. How many more amazing combos like the below will we see? Is Thiem going to step in more? He is serving first in a set for the first time today.
On a day that saw three Top 10 seeds, including the No. 1 on the women's side, bid adieu, can Dominic Thiem avoid joining the exodus?
World No. 239 Hugo Gaston has battled back from two sets down to send their round-of-16 clash into a decider, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, raising the roof on Chatrier in front of a crowd that is giving us all kinds of traditional Roland Garros vibes.
The No. 2 seed had a break point at 4-4 in the third set to put the match on his racquet, but didn't capitalize, and has been rattled by the Frenchman's ploy of drawing him forward on a consistent basis. The Austrian has also maintained a deep position behind the baseline on return, despite Gaston averaging 100 m.p.h. on his first serve through four sets. Will Thiem mix it up in the fifth or stick to what he knows? It's a dilemma worth tracking.
Alexander Zverev's post-match revelation is sure to strike up conversation, as the German claimed he became ill after his third-round match with Marco Cecchinato. Zverev took the court Sunday, going down in a fourth-round defeat to Jannik Sinner.
"I'm completely sick. I can't really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had fever, you know, as well," he said. "I'm not in the best physical state, I would say. I think that had a little bit of an effect on the match today."
When pressed for more information, Zverev said his temperature was "38 degrees" (Celsius), which converts to 100.4°F. The 23-year-old was not one of the players who tested positive for COVID-19 after participating in June's Adria Tour.
Wild card Hugo Gaston has extended his fourth-round showdown with Dominic Thiem to a fourth set after breaking the Austrian to clinch it, 7-5. Gaston was incredibly effective in exposing Thiem's court positioning by carving his drop shot whenever possible to keep the No. 2 seed on his toes. For Thiem, it's the first set he's lost since going down two sets to Zverev in New York.
Recent Rome runner-up Diego Schwartzman leads Lorenzo Sonego, 6-1, 6-3. The Italian has struggled to combat the quickness of the No. 9 seed, racking up 31 unforced errors.
WATCH: Thiem packs unlikely 1-2 punch
Teenager Iga Swiatek had this to say after turning the tables on Simona Halep following last year's 6-1, 6-0 defeat in Paris to the Romanian.
"I knew this is a great opportunity for me and I can play my best tennis on biggest stadium because I already played like four matches like that," Swiatek explained in her virtual press conference. "And right now I'm more experienced, I can handle the pressure. So I feel like I grown up to play a match like that and to win it. So everything went well. I did everything that my coach told me about tactics. So it was kind of like perfect match for me."
Through his first three matches of his Roland Garros debut, Jannik Sinner won all nine sets he played. He finally coughed one up Sunday, but otherwise commanded the pulse of the match to knock off US Open finalist Alexander Zverev, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Sinner put Zverev on the defensive, drawing 56 unforced errors from the frustrated No. 6 seed. Sinner will now take on 12-time champion Rafael Nadal for a spot in the semifinals.
Coming in, Elina Svitolina had lost three straight matches to Caroline Garcia, all in three sets. Today, the No. 3 seed served up a much different story, getting the job done in routine fashion.
Svitolina dashed Garcia's hopes with a 6-1, 6-3 victory, converting six breaks of serves to move forward in just 63 minutes. She'll be heavily favored to reach her first Paris semifinal, as the two-time major semifinalist meets Nadia Podoroska. The world No. 131 became the second qualifier to win Sunday (after Martina Trevisan), topping Barbora Krejcikova, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, to become the first Argentinean woman to get through to the quarterfinals in 16 years (Paola Suarez).
With two Top 5 women's seeds bowing out earlier, No. 3 seed Svitolina has already done something neither Simona Halep or Kiki Bertens could do: win a set.
Playing on Chatrier, Svitolina blitzed Garcia, 6-1, winning 29 points to 13 for the Frenchwoman. Garcia couldn't get anything going on serve with just a 27 percent success rate. All may not be lost for home fans, as Garcia also dropped her opening set, 6-1, to Elise Mertens in the previous round.
With three singles matches finishing in straight sets to begin the day, we finally have some extended action.
Two players ranked outside of the Top 100 are neck and neck in their round-of-16 encounter. Barbora Krejickova won the first set 6-2, before qualifier Nadia Podoroska fired right back with her own 6-2 score. Each player has won 57 points going into the decider.
After initially losing his break advantage in the third set, Alexander Zverev regained it, then served out a nervy game to get his first set of the day. Jannik Sinner still leads, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6.
Make it 97-2 at Roland Garros for 12-time champion Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard wipes away a tiny hiccup in the third, an 0-2 hole, to end Sebastian Korda's memorable week in Paris, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, after one hour and 55 minutes.
Nadal picked up his 27th consecutive win at the clay-court major and is now 92-0 in sets won at the event when facing players ranked outside the Top 60. Through to the quarterfinals for a record 14th time, the No. 2 seed awaits Jannik Sinner or Alexander Zverev.
Sinner continues to control the court in his fourth-round match with Zverev, and has moved ahead, 6-3, 6-3. In the second set, the 19-year-old faced little resistance at the line, winning 16 of 21 service points. Zverev hit three winners to 12 unforced errors in falling further behind.
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has converted all four of his break point chances to race out to a 6-1, 6-1 lead against 20-year-old qualifier Sebastian Korda. Nadal has never lost in 45 matches as the No. 2 seed at Roland Garros. Korda has been unsuccessful in pulling the trigger, compiling 31 unforced errors to 10 winners.
Jannik Sinner clinched his first set, 6-3, versus sixth seed Alexander Zverev. After falling behind 1-3, Zverev had five chances to get back on serve, including twice in the final game. The German would let out his frustration with a pair of racquet smashes before Sinner closed out the set.
"All the credit to her, she played unbelievable today. She was everywhere and she hit all the balls very strong, very powerful," Simona Halep told press after falling to Iga Swiatek. "It was a little bit cold and I couldn't be at my best, but, yeah, she played really well and it was her match today."
The 2018 champion is taking the defeat in stride, adding, "I realize that it was a fantastic year with all the tough moments that we all had, so I'm not going to ruin the whole year just for a match. Of course it's not easy to take it, but I'm used to some tough moments in this career. So I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow."
The Paris dream keeps getting better for Martina Trevisan.
After winning her main draw opener following a successful qualification into the event, Trevisan scored her first Top 60 win over Coco Gauff in the second round. Two days later, she saved two match points to oust Maria Sakkari for her first Top 25 win. Now, Trevisan has added a Top 10 victory.
The world No. 159 adds to Iga Swiatek's shocker by knocking off No. 5 seed Kiki Bertens, 6-4, 6-4, winning 55 percent of her return points, finishing with a backhand lob winner, to set an unlikely final eight matchup with the Pole. With Trevisan's victory, just four women's seeds remain, and we're guaranteed to add a third unseeded quarterfinalist later when Barbora Krejcikova faces Nadia Podoroska.
Outplayed in every sense of the way, the heavy favorite on the women's side is out of the tournament.
Iga Swiatek, who managed just one game against Simona Halep in the round of 16 of Roland Garros last year, gives the Romanian a dose of her own medicine with a stunning performance, 6-1, 6-2. Swiatek kept Halep off balance from start to finish, using pace, angles and pure fearlessness to outplay the two-time major champion. In taking it to Halep, the 19-year-old struck 30 winners (to Halep's 12) and did not face a break point to reach her first major quarterfinal.
"It is my favorite. I always loved to play here, even when I was a junior," Swiatek told the crowd. "This week is like a dream come true for me. And I hope it's going to be longer."
As a result, the top half of the women's draw is guaranteed to boast a first-time major finalist. Halep suffered her first defeat since losing to Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open semifinals.
Nine break points came and went for Iga Swiatek, before she finally put the hammer down to secure a double break advantage on world No. 2 Simona Halep. Serving at 6-1, 4-1, is this match all but Swiatek's at this point?
In a crucial third game of set two, Halep erased four break points to avoid going down a set and a double break to Swiatek. Halep is yet to get a single look on return, will that last hold be the swing game she needs to get back in this contest?
Meanwhile, over on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, qualifier Maria Trevisan opened a 6-4 advantage against No. 5 seed Kiki Bertens. The Dutchwoman hit 0 aces to four double faults, finishing with 17 unforced errors in dropping the set.
2019 Roland Garros round of 16: Simona Halep wins first set vs. Iga Swiatek, 6-1
2020 Roland Garros round of 16: Iga Swiatek wins first set vs. Simona Halep, 6-1
What a set from the Polish teenager, steamrolling the 2018 champion after 24 minutes of play. Swiatek pummeled 17 winners to seven unforced errors and won 76 percent of her return points to dominate the top seed in every way. Can she sustain this?
The round of 16 kicks off and along the way, just one of 16 singles matches features the pre-tournament 'projected' seeded matchups. How long will the string of upsets continue?
Simona Halep, Rafael Nadal, Elina Svitolina and Dominic Thiem will all take Court Philippe-Chatrier hoping to get through to the final eight at Roland Garros. Will any of them stumble in their quest to do so?
Halep, the top women's seed, begins with the woman she dropped just one game against in last year's round of 16, Iga Swiatek. One has to think today's contest will be much more competitive given Swiatek's progress over the past 16 months. Will she take a page out of the 2018 champion's playbook and "analyze what [she] did wrong" to flip the script? Halep was emphatic in her last match, avenging her 2019 Paris defeat to Amanda Anisimova, 6-0, 6-1, for her 17 consecutive win.
Twelve-time champion Nadal then takes on the last American man standing, qualifier Sebastian Korda. The American, who named his cat after the 19-time major champion, is appearing in just his second major main draw. Nadal is 89-0 in career sets played at Roland Garros versus opponents ranked outside of the Top 60.
Following that clash, third seed Svitolina bids for her third trip to the Paris quarterfinals, but will have to deny the hopes of a nation when she squares off against Caroline Garcia. Their prior contests have been extremely competitive, though Garcia owns a 3-1 advantage in their head-to-head series, with all three victories coming in three sets.
Wild card Hugo Gaston will keep the French flag flying when he battles two-time defending finalist Dominic Thiem. Like Halep and Nadal, No. 2 seed Thiem is yet to drop a set during the tournament. The US Open champion will be a considerable favorite, though Gaston took out the player many expected the Austrian to face, Stan Wawrinka.
In what could be the match of the day, sixth seed Alexander Zverev meets Italian Jannik Sinner on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. The two other seeded competitors also looking to advance on that court are No. 5 Kiki Bertens and No. 12 Diego Schwartzman.