Passport to RG, Day 11—Stars align for Novak, Stefanos, Sofia & Petra

Passport to RG, Day 11—Stars align for Novak, Stefanos, Sofia & Petra

After a series of upsets, three Grand Slam champions, Novak Djokovic, Petra Kvitova and Sofia Kenin, along with reigning ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas, all delivered the goods on Wednesday at Roland Garros.

From first ball to last, keep up to date with the latest from Roland Garros every day on We'll have match updates, photos, video highlights and more in our daily notebook: Passport to RG. 

Novak addresses injury concerns; PCB asked to weigh in

In the first set of his eventual quarterfinal win over Pablo Carreno Busta, Novak Djokovic had two visible health questions: his neck, taped ahead of his on-court arrival, and his left arm, which appeared to flare up after play began. He and Carreno Busta spoke about it in their post-match virtual press conferences.

Djokovic: "[A] few things happened in the warmup. I had to deal with those physical issues coming onto the court. As the match went on, I felt better, didn't feel as much pain. I don't want to take away anything from his good performance. Especially for set and a half he was the better player, dictating the play. I was very neutral."

"I had some neck issues and some shoulder issues. I'll just say that. I mean, I don't want to get really too much into it. Obviously I'm still in the tournament, so I don't want to reveal too much. I'm feeling okay. I think, as I said, as the match progressed, I warmed up by body, and the pain kind of faded away. It allowed me to play better and better and feel better."

Carreno Busta: "Probably the last years he's always doing this when he has problems on court. I don't know, maybe it's the pressure or something that he needs to do it. But, I mean, he continues playing normal, no? I don't know if he's [in] pain really or [is] mental. Ask him."

"At the beginning of the match I think that I play good. I take advantage of the opportunities returning. Then in the beginning of the second set, I have it again but didn't take advantage. That was when he start[ed] to play better."

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Djokovic reaches 10th Roland Garros semifinal

He lost his first set of the event, but world No. 1 Djokovic is once again through to the final four in Paris, advancing past Carreno Busta, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, to confirm a matchup with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

After missing four break point chances in the third game of the fourth set, Djokovic made his move at 3-3. A sublime backhand return winner brought him to 0-30, and two points later, the Serbian broke the No. 17 seed. Carreno Busta fought back, forcing the top seed to erase three break points before he successfully consolidated.  From 15-30 down in the final game, Djokovic won the last three points to get across the line.

In control now, 2016 champ a set away from advancing

A 3-0 lead evaporated for Novak Djokovic, as Pablo Carreno Busta broke to get back on serve in the third set. The Spaniard had a look at making it four games in a row to go up a break, though his forehand didn't come through in a crucial moment for the second time in the match. Later, PCB couldn't find a first serve, missing three in a row during the ninth game to drop serve, and Djokovic quickly slammed the door shut. The 2016 champion leads 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

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Tsitsipas strikes down NextGen tag; motivated by Thiem's success

Having turned 22 in August, Stefanos Tsitsipas no longer wants to be classified in a certain category of competitors. Here's what he had to say on the matter after being asked about 2020 "being a springboard for Next Gen players," before sharing some thoughtful words about US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

"First of all, I would like to tell you that I'm not a NextGen player any more. I'm a proper adult (smiling). I'm happy to be playing well enough, also be part of something so special," he said. "I don't know, NextGen is not NextGen any more. We are all young. I guess you can call it that way.

"Dominic inspires me a lot. What Dominic has achieved is amazing. Being able to have back-to-back finals here at the French is truly inspiring. Dominic is someone that makes me understand the game and makes me want to push even further to reach what he has reached. He's a nice guy off the court. Big workaholic on the court. He's a very passionate person in every aspect. We're good friends. I think I can learn a lot from him and add it to my game."

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Back even on Chatrier: Djokovic wins second set, 6-2

Pablo Carreno Busta had two chances to go up a set and a break against Novak Djokovic. Will he look back on the second one, when Djokovic's soft overhead gave him time to set up a passing shot, only to push it wide? Djokovic would eventually break, and after wiping away a third break point, commanded the remainder of the second set to level the final men's quarterfinal at one set apiece. Djokovic cleaned up his hitting with 13 winners to seven unforced (PCB was also at +6, despite losing 6-2).

PCB hands Djokovic first lost set of the tournament

His break advantage was wiped clean as a result of a double fault, but Carreno Busta brushed it off to break Djokovic for a second time. He had no problem closing it out for a 6-4 lead, hitting eight winners to nine unforced errors. Djokovic was all over the place in seeing his unforced errors count reach 15. He had his left arm worked on in between sets, in lieu of calling a medical timeout.

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Novak niggles?

He battled neck stiffness on his way to the Cincinnati crown in August and today, Djokovic entered Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris with a large patch of tape in the area. 

During the first changeover, the top seed then clutched his left arm and two games later, attempted to loosen it up after going down a break to Carreno Busta in the first set of their quarterfinal.

Collins on the "spot"

Following her three-set defeat to Sofia Kenin, Danielle Collins explained why she aggressively instructed her trainer/boyfriend Tom Couch to change seats during the middle of her match.

"I had my boyfriend move to a different spot because I was distracted by something in front of him. I just wanted to be able to look at him from a different location," she explained to press. "Sometimes too when I was serving the ball, I could see my team in the background, and I didn't like that. Actually during the Muguruza match they sat on the side of the court, and then I really didn't like when they were sitting behind the court when I was playing Jabeur. Yeah, it was just a mental thing, I guess."

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Sensational Stefanos seals semifinal spot

Ten days ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas saw the Hamburg trophy slip through his fingertips when Andrey Rublev won the final four games to win, 7-5, in the third.

While Wednesday didn't present the exact same scenario, Tsitsipas handed Rublev a taste of that experience in recovering from 3-5 down to claim the first set of their Roland Garros quarterfinal. The No. 5 seed would increase his level as the match progressed to compile a tremendous, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 victory, over the No. 13 seed after one hour and 55 minutes.

Tsitsipas, who was successful 15 of the 16 times he rushed the net, is through to his second Grand Slam final, adding to the 2019 Australian Open. He will take on the winner of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 17th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

Another forward step for Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas will serve to start the third set with a big lead after breaking Andrey Rublev twice, including at the end of the second, to move ahead, 7-5, 6-2. The second set lasted 29 minutes, as Tsitsipas found 10 winners to just four unforced errors and dominated rallies lasting five shots or longer, taking 15 of 20. He's at +8 in his winners to unforced errors differential.

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Turn it around: Tsitsipas strikes first

Refusing to relinquish his positioning, Rublev had the upper hand in his baseline exchanges with Tsitsipas, excelling with his redirection. Until he served for the set at 5-4.

Four unforced errors later, the two were back on serve. Tsitsipas would win the final four games to take a crucial one-set lead, 7-5. Will he work to take more time away from the Russian in the next set, after only managing to get into net three times?

As a reminder, these two met on the first Sunday of Roland Garros... in Hamburg. In that final, Tsitsipas collapsed after serving for the championship at 5-3 in the third. Both then overcame two-set deficits for the first time in their careers two days later in Paris.

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A sweep for the seeds: Kenin sets Kvitova clash

Nothing could slow down Sofia Kenin in her third set against Danielle Collins. Not even an extended off-court medical timeout Collins took to address her abdomen area after falling behind 0-4. The No. 4 seed struck 14 winners in the decider to join seventh seed Petra Kvitova in the semifinals, ending the possibility of an all-unseeded final after wrapping up a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 victory.

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Collins on the comeback trail again

Down a set and a break, Danielle Collins has hit back to force a decider. Sofia Kenin served at 6-4, 3-2, before her fellow American grabbed the momentum by winning four of five games. Tom Couch, who Collins had earlier instructed to move, was spotted in a new part of the stadium just before she broke Kenin on her fourth set point to take it, 6-4. Total points so far: Kenin 69, Collins 62.

Couch would end up moving again before the third set began.

Strange second set start

1. Danielle Collins hits three successive double faults, manages to escape for 1-0.

2. Sofia Kenin falls behind, 15-40, Collins can't capitalize. Instructs her trainer/boyfriend Tom Couch to, "sit in a different spot. SIT IN A DIFFERENT SPOT. I'm distracted."

3. Collins regroups to hold for 2-1.

Rewriting history? Kenin grabs early advantage

Coming into Wednesday, Sofia Kenin had never won a set in three meetings (one at tour level) with Danielle Collins. Playing in a Grand Slam quarterfinal has quickly changed that.

Kenin opened a 6-4 lead, thanks in part to some early help from her countrywoman. The Australian Open champ broke at love when Collins double faulted and required nothing further, winning 72 percent of points on serve to avoid facing a break point.

Kvitova sails into semifinals

Set 1 saw just one break point. Set 2 saw six breaks of serve.

In the end, Petra Kvitova and her ground game proves too strong for Laura Siegemund, and it's a 6-3, 6-3 victory after 80 minutes. Though Siegemund had lost serve after a disagreement with the chair umpire on the serve call running out (watch below), she managed to get back on serve for 3-3. From there however, the Czech regained the momentum to win the final three games, ending with Siegemund double faulting on match point. The lefty concluded her day with 22 winners to 15 unforced errors.

Kvitova is through to the final four in Paris for the first time in eight years. The lefty awaits the winner of an all-American tussle between Sofia Kenin and Danielle Collins.

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Siegemund calls time violation 'BS': do you agree?

One set to go for Kvitova

Seventh seed Petra Kvitova came out firing in her opening set against Laura Siegemund to take it, 6-3. Kvitova unleashed 14 winners, including six aces and won 14/15 first-serve points. There was just one break point between the two, which Kvitova converted in the fourth game to ultimately grab the difference maker. She is yet to drop a set in the tournament... can Siegemund find a way to change that?

An all-American match and Hamburg replay on deck

The quarterfinals wrap up with four matches on Chatrier. Will the upset bug stick around for another day?

The women will start first, with two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, the No. 7 seed, facing Laura Siegemund, who is contesting her first major singles quarterfinal. These two have met only once, more than five years ago at the US Open in a match Kvitova dominated. However, 11 of Siegemund's 14 wins against Top 20 opposition have come on clay.

Following this encounter, reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin clashes with Danielle Collins in the first all-American quarterfinal match at Roland Garros in 16 years. Collins lost just four games to Kenin earlier this year in Adelaide, and also has a pair of straight-sets wins at lower-level ITF tournaments. The fourth-seeded Kenin and Collins have both required three sets in three of their four wins en route to the final eight.

With an unseeded player guaranteed to appear in Saturday's final from the top half of the draw, will Kvitova and Kenin capitalize on the chance to tack on another Grand Slam crown, or will Collins and Siegemund jump at the golden opportunity?

For the second time in 10 days, No. 13 seed Andrey Rublev and No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas go toe-to-toe. Rublev rallied from 3-5 down to edge the Greek for the title in Hamburg, and both needed to erase two-set deficits in their opening rounds. The Russian, looking to defeat a Top 40 player in Paris for the first time, owns three Top 10 wins on the major stage. 

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Pablo Carreno Busta cap off the action in the final match. Just over a month ago (31 days), Djokovic suffered his only loss of 2020 when he was defaulted against Carreno Busta in the fourth round of the US Open. Since then, he's won 22 of 23 sets. Carreno Busta went on the contest his second semifinal at Flushing Meadows.

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