Day 10: Three things to look out for

 - Simon Cambers

We're offered a feast of quarter-finals at Roland-Garros on Tuesday - and it promises to be another action-packed day

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev go head-to-head at Roland-Garros on Tuesday while Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands continue their quest for doubles fun and glory, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova looks to reach the semi-finals of a Slam for the first time.


Tsitsipas wary of inspired Medvedev

Given his form on clay this year and his performance last year at Roland-Garros, when he reached the semi-finals, Tsitsipas doubtless expected to find himself in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros. What he probably didn’t expect was to be facing Medvedev for a place in the last four.


Until this year, Medvedev’s record at Roland-Garros read: played four, lost four. But the Russian world No.2 has found a love for Parisian clay, it seems, and with a 6-1 head-to-head lead over Tsitsipas – including a win in their only meeting on clay in 2019 – the fifth-seeded Greek knows he needs to be on his game from the start.

“He does serve extremely well, I have to say,” the 22-year-old Tsitsipas said. “He has improved over the years with his serve. This is going to be something that I will have to face. Of course, myself playing well, I feel like I don't have to think against who I'm facing or not, I just have to play my game, let the rest be witnessed.”

Medvedev, meanwhile, says he is enjoying himself on clay, at last.

“Playing Stefanos in quarters, by the results this year on clay, he's definitely in top three, top four, together with Sascha (Zverev), Novak (Djokovic), and Rafa (Nadal) on clay. I'm really looking forward to this match and what I can propose him," said the 25-year-old.

“I learned that I can move really well on clay. Here, I'm able, with these balls, with these conditions, to make shots that not going to let my opponent attack me straightaway. Then I can take control of the game and be a great mover on clay. That's one part that I learned.”

Swiatek and Mattek-Sands having fun on the doubles court

By the look on the faces of Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the end of their win over top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens on Sunday, you might have thought the pair had won the Roland-Garros title.

The Polish-American pair saved seven match points to take their place in the quarter-finals and on Tuesday they play Darija Jurak of Croatia and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

But regardless of results, just being on the doubles court is doing wonders for both players.

For Mattek-Sands, playing in front of fans again has been a huge boost after a tough time in the Covid-19 bubbles, while for Swiatek, having fun on the court has kept her mind off the fact that she is now the big favourite to win the singles title for a second straight year.

“It's always fun,” Swiatek said. “She's a really nice person and she's always giving me that positive energy.

“If I wouldn't play doubles, I would practise, and it's easier to motivate yourself when you're actually playing a match and you have to focus. It's getting a lot of rhythm and you have that feeling that you are not stopping, you're always going forward.”

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Iga Swiatek, Roland Garros 2021, doubles third round© Loïc Wacziak/FFT

Pavlyuchenkova hoping to be seventh time lucky

For Pavlyuchenkova, Roland-Garros has always meant a bit more than the other three Grand Slams.

This, of course, was where it all began for the Russian, who reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final in Paris 10 years ago.

A decade on and a lot of water under the bridge since, the No.31 seed faces her doubles partner and conqueror of Serena Williams in the previous round, Elena Rybakina, for a maiden place in a Grand Slam semi-final.

After six quarter-final defeats, could this be the one?

“I think I'm more mature (now),” said the 29-year-old. “I hope I show more maturity-ness as well, smarter tennis, more consistent. I feel quite fit, as well, considering the fact that I'm not the youngest on tour now, but still feeling good.”

Her mind can still wander, though, as she admitted after her win over Victoria Azarenka in the previous round.

“When I was losing the first set, I lost it, the beginning of the second I was looking at my shoes, at the clay. I was thinking, 'I hate clay so much',” she said. “'What I'm even doing here in Paris?' I was saying this to myself.

“But now I won and I really love this tournament and I love clay. It’s always like this.

“Of course I like this event a lot. It's very special to me. Also back 10 years ago was the first quarter-final here. I used to live and practice in Paris. I know the city really well. And yeah, I actually like clay.”