Day 9 diary: No croissants for Diego, Coco the Uno champ

Time to reflect on scintillating matches and moments from the terre battue throughout play on Monday.

Diego Schwartzman, Roland Garros 2021, fourth round© Philippe Montigny/FFT
 - Alex Sharp

It might be Monday but there was no easing into the beginning of week two at Roland-Garros.

Legendary figures and young guns shone on a packed order of play. Here is what you might have missed from around the grounds in Paris.

Schwartzman wary of Nadal duel

Never count Diego Schwartzman out. The Argentine erased seven set points from 1-5 down in the opener to eventually overcome Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(9), 6-4, 7-5.

“I’m very happy to be back, very happy to be in the quarter-finals again,” said the 28-year-old before joking. “I’m not very happy to maybe face Rafa in the next round.”

The diminutive Argentine is 1-10 down in bouts with the defending champion Rafael Nadal. However, the world No.10 defeated the Spaniard in straight sets in Rome last fall, before Nadal gained revenge 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(0) in the semi-finals on Court Philippe-Chatrier eight months ago.

Schwartzman hoped Jannik Sinner could tire out Nadal in the last 16, insisting he needs a strong start to have any chance.  

“I think at the beginning of every match against Rafa, you have to walk on the court thinking to win the match, to have opportunities, to get opportunities, and think about something else and not think about Rafa in the other side of the net,” stated Schwartzman, who has yet to drop a set through four matches this fortnight.

During his press conference there was a brilliant exchange, revealing Schwartzman is quite particular about his snacks.

“I want to be home after the tournament. I really need it, to have a week off. I just want to be home and enjoy the small things in my house and not much in that. But asados, medialunas, and mate, and friends," he said.

Moderator: “That would be barbecue, croissant, and mate.”

Schwartzman: “But croissant is not medialuna, is not the same, so is not a good translation (smiling)."

Doubles duo, singles opponents

On Monday, Serena Williams’s conqueror Elena Rybakina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova teamed up to book a doubles quarter-final ticket 6-4, 6-3 against No.3 seeds Demi Schuurs and Nicole Melichar.

On Tuesday, they are set to square off in the singles quarter-finals. They’ll definitely know what to expect over the net!

Gauff the Uno champion… for now

Coco Gauff is notching up the wins on and off the court.

The 17-year-old booked a quarter-final spot with a commanding 6-3, 6-1 triumph over Ons Jabeur, before being asked about her life travelling on tour with her family.

“It’s important for me, especially with the bubble, to have fun. Every night we play Uno and I win all the time,” the American declared during her on-court interview, sending her box into a fit of laughter.

Well, the teenager wasn’t exactly accurate with that statement.

“We have been playing Uno today and actually we have been keeping score. I have it in my notes,” Gauff admitted in her press conference, while tallying competitive family card game wins on her phone.

“I have 16 wins under me. My dad has 11 and my mom has 10. I'm in the lead right now.

“With Uno, there's not really tips, it's all about luck. But I have a strategy that I have against my parents. I know how they play and I'm not going to share it because my dad watches my interviews and I don't want him to know what happens.”

Dealing with nerves, dealing with adversity

Barbora Krejcikova, next up for Gauff, is in uncharted territory in singles play on the major stage.

The nerves and anticipation became too much for the Czech prior to a highly impressive 6-2, 6-0 dismissal of 2018 finalist Sloane Stephens.

 World No.33 Krejcikova, who extended her winning streak to nine victories in a row, gave a frank and open press conference shortly after.

“I actually really don't know what happened today, because I just woke up and I just felt really bad. I don't know why. I just felt really stressed. I don't know why or what for. You know, half an hour before the match, I didn't even want to step on the court, because I just really felt really bad,” stated the 25-year-old.

“I had to lock myself in the physio room and I had to talk to my psychologist. I was actually crying.”

We’re glad to see Krejcikova responded in style on the court.

Barbora Krejcikova, Roland Garros 2021, fourth round© Philippe Montigny/FFT

Precision and patience from Rafa

Taking down Jannik Sinner in straight sets was just part of Nadal’s troubles on Monday.

The 13-time champion was meticulously trying to make sure his headband and its logo were in the exact spot he prefers.

Obviously Nadal likes to look the part on his most cherished court. Take a look below.

Shot of the Day

A master of changing defence into offence at the blink of an eye, Novak Djokovic earns 'Shot of the day' honours with this masterpiece of a rally.