Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 11 – weren't we here earlier today?

·3-min read

And the answer is? Yes, we were. Such is the yen for 24/7 that we were back at Stade Roland Garros not so long after leaving. On our return we saw more pyrotechnics from Iga Swiatek and triumphs for Daria Kasatkina who reached a semi-final at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time and Marin Cilic who advanced to the last four in Paris for the first time in 16 attempts. But these highs all came in the shadow of "the night match". You know the one. Between those two.

Time warp

Play started on Day 11 at 11am. That’s nine hours and 45 minutes after play ended on Day 10 – thanks Rafa and Novak. Unsurprisingly, the new tournament director Amélie Mauresmo was asked about the late night match concept at a press conference that started eight hours and 45 minutes after "the night match" had ended. “I’m learning a lot of things regarding the scheduling of the tournament,” yawned Mauresmo. “Having such late matches could actually trigger some questions. I’m wondering about it myself, to be honest.” Well, that’s encouraging.

Time warp reality check

Not so encouraging though appears to be Mauresmo's concession that the night matches will continue to be a weapons grade testosterone zone. Only one of the 10 sessions in 2022 was attributed to a tie from the women’s draw. That was the second round clash between local heroine Alizé Cornet and the 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko. Mauresmo, a former world number one, said: “In this era that we are in right now – and as a woman, a former woman’s player, I don’t feel bad or unfair saying that – you have more attraction, appeal in general, for the men’s matches.” There used to be an appeal to dowries and women not voting too.

Anything Rafa can do, I won't try yet

Women's top seed Iga Swiatek is a fully paid-up member of the Rafael Nadal fan club. Positively swoons at the very mention of the man. She went all whirly gawk when one reporter suggested she play mixed doubles with Nadal. Following her quarter-final victory over 11th seed Jessica Pegula, on-court interrogator Marion Bartoli asked how Swiatek had spent her 21st birthday on Day 10. The Pole said it had been all pretty low key because of her match on Day 11 and she didn't have the experience of how far she could push the boat out on extra-mural activities during a tournament. "Maybe in a few years I'll know what I can cope with and maybe I can go and watch the Champions League final and still win my match the next day." We wonder which particular Spanish 35-year-old she was referring to there.

Old man wither

Marin just keeps rolling, Marin keeps on rolling along. Just after dispatching the French veteran Gilles Simon in the third round, Marin Cilic was asked if he was thinking of hanging up his racquet. The 33-year-old said he wasn't considering the move quite yet. The question mystified the review: Cilic had just trousered a cheque for 120,000 euros. Four days on and Cilic has moved into the semi-final in Paris - first time in 16 visits. Even if he were to lose on Day 13, that's 600,000 euros to take back to the family coffers. And he seems to be enjoying himself too. More than 30 aces and 35 forehand winners during his four-hour victory over the seventh seed Andrey Rublev. Yeah Marin, time to get the pipe, slippers and blankets for the rocking chair.

Cold comfort farm

For that retirement, Marin Cilic would do well to snaffle a couple of the blankets dished out on centre court for the night sessions as temperatures drop to typically untropical. Could be a happy souvenir of his own trip to the twilight zone. Cilic dispatched the second seed Daniil Medvedev in the last-16 on Day 9. It was all over well before the trains stopped running. But that was before "the night match" to end all night matches.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting