Day 9: Three things to look out for

 - Simon Cambers

Fourth round action resumes on Monday with all four of last year's singles finalists set to take to the court

Rafael Nadal, Jannik Sinner, Roland Garros 2020, quarter-finals© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both take on Italian opposition for a place in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros on Monday, while Iga Swiatek continues the defence of her women’s title.

Big 2/3 v the rising Italians

Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti are the future of Italian tennis and perhaps the future of men’s tennis.

On Monday, the 19-year-olds will get the chance to show just how far they’ve come.

Sinner meets 13-time Roland-Garros winner Rafael Nadal for the second year in a row, having pushed him harder than anyone last year, when holding a set point in their quarter-final battle.


Since last year, Sinner has risen from No.75 in the rankings to No.19 and won two titles, while he also pushed Nadal hard in Rome last month.

“In one way, it’s a good test,” Sinner said. “ In another, I have played twice already against Rafa. So this time is going to be a little bit different.”

Musetti is through to the fourth round on his debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam and the teenager is confident he can put up a good show against Novak Djokovic, even though the world No.1 has yet to drop a set.

“We practised a lot with Djokovic, so we know each other a little bit,” Musetti said. “For sure there is going to be a little bit of tension, but I think it's what I'm working for since my childhood. All the sacrifice and hard work I did in the childhood became reality now. I'm just enjoying the moment and I will try to do my best.”

History beckons for Jabeur but Gauff threatens

If Ons Jabeur can beat Coco Gauff in their fourth-round battle on Monday, she will become the first Tunisian and first Arab woman in history to reach the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros, equalling her effort in Australia last year.

The 26-year-old, at her best on clay, has played Gauff twice before, with one win and one defeat, and knows she will need to play smartly to have a chance.

“I think what makes it different with Coco is mentally, she's strong,” said Jabeur, who like Gauff, is a former Roland-Garros junior champion. “She never gives up or lets the pressure get her.

“I think her being surrounded by probably Serena and Venus helps her a lot to get into the game and other matches. She's handling very well everything going on, and she deserves to be here.”

Ons Jabeur, Roland-Garros 2021©Julien Crosnier / FFT

For her part, Gauff knows she will be in for a different battle from her previous rounds.

“Obviously she's a difficult player to play on any surface, but especially clay,” the 17-year-old American said. “I have to be ready to run a lot. We all know she loves drop shots and doesn't really give you much of a rhythm. She's also good on the back too, especially on the forehand side.

“I think I just have to be ready for anything with her. You never know what happens.”

Cool Swiatek set for Kostyuk battle

Iga Swiatek’s streak of match wins stands at 10 now, all of them in straight sets, but the Pole will be ready for a stern test from a player she knows from her junior days, Marta Kostyuk.

The 18-year-old Ukrainian is through to the last 16 of a slam for the first time but having taken out former champion Garbine Muguruza in the first round, she’s brimming with confidence.

But she also has an unusual method of keeping herself calm, even as the prospect of a quarter-final place looms on  the horizon.

Marta Kostyuk, Roland Garros 2021 second round© Amélie Laurin/FFT

“Honestly in my head I don't feel like I'm in fourth round at all,” said Kostyuk. “It's just another win for me. It's just another match for me on Monday. But it honestly doesn't feel like I'm in the fourth round. I don't even have the feeling.”

Swiatek has been on cruise control so far and barely remembers her meeting with Kostyuk when they were juniors, relying instead on her coach to do the scouting work required.

“As usual, I haven't seen her play [here],” Swiatek said. “I wasn't watching her matches. I was just focused on my match against Anett [Kontaveit]. But obviously my coach is going to do a great job. He's really good at tactics, so I'm feeling safe.”