Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 10 - all hail semi-final newcomers

·3-min read

After a flirtation with the ladies on Day 9, the 9pm evening session was given over to the lads for the eighth time in 10 matches. Before that testosterone zone, there were three happy campers - Alex Zverev, Tamara Zidansek and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova - in the semis for the first time.


In terms of equality, the 9pm match has been resolutely and depressingly one for the boys. Second seed Daniil Medvedev and the fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas did battle under the lights on Day 10. It was an enthralling duel. Medvedev is the first to admit that he has to adapt his game to clay. But from not winning a match in his previous four visits, he has displayed promise in his run to the last eight.

Surge of nerves

Both 23, Paula Badosa and Tamara Zidansek were contesting their first quarter-final at a Grand Slam tournament. On paper, Badosa, the 33rd seed, was the favourite. But she fell in three sets to an opponent ranked 50 or so places beneath her. "It's complicated the first time when you're in a quarter-finals," Badosa reflected after Zidansek beat her 7-5, 4-6, 8-6. "When you want it so, so much, maybe sometimes it's a little bit too much and I was putting a little bit too much pressure on myself." Both players will rise up the rankings on the back of their DAYTIME performances in Paris. "If I have another opportunity like this, I will try to change my approach," added Badosa. Zidansek will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, another first time semi-finalist for a place in Saturday's women's singles showdown.

Nicely brought up lad Mr Zverev

Sixth seed Alex Zverev reached the semi-finals at the French Open for the first time with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 demolition of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. It was all over in 96 minutes on centre court as the 22-year-old Spaniard struggled with a back injury. Zverev was in evident control of his opponent from the start of the second set and he maintained the pressure. "He's someone who's improved a lot over the last 18 months," said Zverev of his conquered foe. "And he's reached his first Grand Slam quarter final. I'm sure it won't be his last." Bless.

Amour propre

French tennis is in the doldrums. There was a time when there'd be some local names in the second week of the singles tournaments. But now it's everyone but the home-grown. So it was hardly surprising that there were lots of cheers for the doubles duo Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in their quarter-final match on Court Suzanne Lenglen. The pair have been playing together since 2011 and have won at the four Grand Slam tournament venues in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York. They will take on the second seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal in the semis.

Amour not so pure

Stefanos Tsitsipas stands one metre 93 centimetres tall. And is an aesthetic wonder to match. The press seats for the 22-year-old Greek's quarter-final match against Daniil Medvedev were filled with hordes of twenty-something women. "That's really starting to annoy me," exclaimed one after Medvedev pulled off yet another deft drop shot. There was a reproving glance from the enchanted princess when the review suggested her prince might be taken to a fourth set. When the victorious Tsitsipas changed shirts for the post-match interview on court, it didn't look like conversation was in her mind.

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