Advertisement

Alcaraz books Tsitsipas rematch as Swiatek races into French Open quarters

Perfection: Iga Swiatek didn't drop a single game in her last-16 win over Anastasia Potapova (Dimitar DILKOFF)
Perfection: Iga Swiatek didn't drop a single game in her last-16 win over Anastasia Potapova (Dimitar DILKOFF)

Carlos Alcaraz produced his best display of the tournament to line up a quarter-final rematch with Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open, while Iga Swiatek ramped up her bid for a third successive Roland Garros title with a 40-minute blitz on Sunday.

Alcaraz says he feels much more like himself in Paris after an injury-hit build-up saw him sidelined by a sore forearm for almost a month.

His 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Canadian 21st seed Felix Auger-Aliassime suggested he is rounding into top form, sending an ominous signal to his rivals as he made the last eight for the third year in succession.

The Spaniard pumped 34 winners past Auger-Aliassime as the persistent rain which heavily disrupted the first week of the tournament finally relented, allowing matches on the two main courts to go ahead without the need for their retractable roofs.

"I'm really happy with my performance. I think I played a really high level of tennis," said Alcaraz, beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals last year.

"The most important thing is to believe in myself. It doesn't matter that I don't have too many matches on my back and that I didn't come with a lot of rhythm."

"My game is getting better and better," he added. "My confidence is getting higher. Every practice that I'm doing or every day that I'm here in Roland Garros, I'm feeling better and better."

Alcaraz moves on to play Tsitsipas after the 2021 Roland Garros runner-up fended off Italy's Matteo Arnaldi 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-2, the turning point coming in the second set when he saved four set points.

"It was one of the craziest comebacks I've had," said ninth seed Tsitsipas. "That game when I broke (down 5-3 in the second set) was the biggest pleasure I've experienced in tennis for a long time."

Alcaraz boasts a 5-0 career head-to-head record over Tsitsipas with three wins on clay, including a straight-sets victory in the French Open quarter-finals a year ago.

"He has said in the past he likes playing against me, so I hope he gets to like it a little bit less this time," said Tsitsipas.

Second seed Jannik Sinner dropped his first set of the tournament but recovered to end French interest in the men's draw, putting out Corentin Moutet 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in the night match.

Australian Open champion Sinner stumbled out of the gate and lost the first five games against an inspired Moutet, who was trying to reach a first Grand Slam quarter-final at the age of 25.

But Sinner, who has lost only two matches this year and will replace Djokovic as world number one if he reaches the final, steadied himself to nullify the threat of the 79th-ranked Moutet.

"It was very tough for me. I think he played very, very well in the first set, so I had to adjust a little bit," said Sinner.

He is through to a seventh Grand Slam quarter-final, the most by an Italian man in the Open era.

Sinner next faces Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets to complete a set of Grand Slam quarter-finals. The Bulgarian has reached the last four of the other three majors but never made it to a final.

- Swiatek in a hurry -

Earlier in the day, women's world number one Swiatek demolished Russia's Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0, conceding only 10 points in the shortest completed match of her career.

"I was really focused and in the zone. I wasn't looking at the score so I continued working on my game," said Swiatek.

"It went pretty quickly... pretty weird."

The Pole's brisk victory came on the same Court Philippe Chatrier where Djokovic had completed his third round win at 3:07 a.m., the latest finish to a French Open match after more than four hours and five sets.

Swiatek, who saved a match point against Naomi Osaka in the second round, is a red-hot favourite to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen and become only the fourth woman to win four Roland Garros titles in the Open era.

She next plays Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, the fifth seed who ended the run of Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic in straight sets.

US Open champion Coco Gauff made light work of Elisabetta Cocciaretto, sweeping past the world number 51 from Italy 6-1, 6-2.

Cocciaretto had taken down two seeds to reach the last 16 of a major for the first time but was no match for third seed Gauff, the 2022 French Open runner-up.

The American advances to a quarter-final with three-time Grand Slam finalist Ons Jabeur, who beat Denmark's Clara Tauson 6-4, 6-4.

mw/dj/dmc