Day 11: Things to look out for

A rematch of rising stars, an all-American clash and a surging Serb highlight Wednesday’s action.

 - Chris Oddo

Day 11 is upon us at Roland-Garros and a thrilling line-up of quarter-final matches are on the agenda in Paris.

A rematch of two sensational 22-year-olds, an all-American clash and a surging Serb highlight Wednesday’s action.

Here are three things to look out for on Day 11...

From Hamburg to Paris: Rublev and Tsitsipas Revival 

Think back to Day 1 of Roland-Garros. First-round action was underway and the gorgeous new roof over Court Philippe-Chatrier made its debut.

Meanwhile, approximately 900km to the northeast, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev were battling it out for the title in Hamburg. 


Rublev claimed the trophy, the biggest of his career, before the pair jetted to Paris to take their places in the main draw. Fast forward two days and both Tsitsipas and Rublev found themselves two-sets-to-love down in their respective first-round matches, on the brink of a disaster. 

Skip forward another week and the pair have come full circle, with each pushing further into the Roland-Garros draw than ever before.

Rublev, a former junior champion in Paris that had never won a main draw match on Parisian clay prior to 2020, looks back on his hectic week one with a chuckle. 

Andrey Rublev, Roland Garros 2020, fourth round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

“Yeah, it's funny,” he says. “Both of us had a tough, tough week in Hamburg.. Then both of us were down in the first round, two sets to love. Both of us came back. Now we are here and we're going to play each other in quarters. I hope we're going to show a good level, good match, and I hope people will enjoy.” 

Rublev has a 2-0 lifetime record at tour-level against Tsitsipas, and the Russian is enjoying his best season to date. He’ll enter the match with a 29-6 overall record and three titles to his name in 2020. Even better, he’s unlocked his clay game in recent weeks and has reeled off nine consecutive wins on the surface. 

Tsitsipas is in stirring form as well. The Greek, who became the first player from his country to reach the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros, has won 12 consecutive sets and was particularly effective in his straight sets victory over Grigor Dimitrov on Monday. 

“We grew up playing together,” Tsitsipas said of Rublev. “He has improved a lot. We've played each other many times. I think he has a positive record against me. Going inside that match in two days, it is very important for me to take this opportunity and fight harder this time, maybe do something better.”

America for the semis 

As one of two remaining Grand Slam champions in the women’s singles draw, No.4 seed Sofia Kenin will go in as the favourite against unseeded Danielle Collins when the pair meet in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Both players had never made it this far on Parisian clay before but have built up strong momentum this fortnight.

Kenin, who ended the hopes of France’s Fiona Ferro on Monday in three sets, owns an impressive 14-1 record in Grand Slam play this season and has evolved into a solid, steady clay-court player over the last two seasons.

“I feel like last year I started to really like the clay after my great run,” Kenin told reporters on Monday. 

The world No.6 says her third-round victory over Serena Williams in Paris last year really opened her eyes to what she can achieve on the surface.  

“It's a lot of sliding, it's very physical. I just tried to adjust my game to it. I feel like as each match went, I'm more and more comfortable on the clay. 

“I'm super proud to be in the quarter-finals. Because this used to be a surface that I really don't like. Now it's obviously a surface that I really enjoy playing on.” 

Kenin may be favoured, but don’t sleep on Collins in this contest. The American is riding a hot hand after defeating 2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza in the third round and her confidence showed as she edged Tunisian No.30 seed Ons Jabeur in a tense three-setter on Tuesday.

She’s also got a new coach in her corner - she started working with three-time Roland-Garros quarter-finalist Nicolas Almagro just a week ago. Apparently the connection is strong. 

Djokovic firing on all cylinders ahead of PCB rematch

Novak Djokovic has been a relentless force ever since he took the court this January at the ATP Cup and Australian Open, where he ran the table and won his 17th major title.

The world No.1 will continue his quest for a second Roland-Garros title on Wednesday when he meets Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta for the second time in four weeks.

Djokovic was down a break in the first set of his fourth-round encounter with Carreno Busta at the US Open last month when he got defaulted for accidentally hitting a line judge with the ball.

That was the Serb's sole defeat of the season as he carries a 35-1 record entering Wednesday's quarter-final. He has dropped a mere 25 games through four rounds in Paris. 

Remarkably, Djokovic has broken serve 28 times through his first four matches. He’s already considered one of the best returners in the history of the sport, and it looks like he’s even better in the slow-playing conditions that players are encountering this year in Paris. 

Djokovic first reached the semi-finals in Paris in 2007, and he’ll bid to achieve the feat for the 10th time against the Spaniard on Wednesday. 

“Carreno Busta is someone that is obviously very solid,” he said. “I think he actually improved his game in the last 12, 15 months on all the surfaces. Playing semi-finals at US Open proves it. I know he has done it before. He's climbing the rankings again.”

The 29-year-old Carreno Busta is a two-time US Open semi-finalist and is into the Roland-Garros quarter-finals for the second time in his career, having also achieved that feat in 2017.