French Open Day 10 Recap and Day 11 preview:
-Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams won their fourth round matches to book spots in the quarterfinals. Williams cruised 6-1, 6-1 against 18th seed Elina Svitolina while Djokovic recovered from a slow start to defeat Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets.
-Second seed Andy Murray snapped Richard Gasquet’s hot streak by defeating the home favorite in four sets. Murray led 5-2 in the first set before losing five straight games and the set. He rebounded and took the next three sets and the match to deny Gasquet the chance at the first French victory at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah’s triumph in 1983. Gasquet was playing in his first French Open quarterfinal.
-Women’s 4th seed Garbine Muguruza terminated American upstart Shelby Rogers’ stunning run. Rogers had defeated three seeded players on the way to the quarterfinals. Ranked 108th, Rogers is projected to rise to the top 60. Muguruza is looking to repeat her success of her last summer’s run to the Wimbledon final. She will take on 21st seed Sam Stosur in the semifinals.
Day 11 Marquee Matches
Novak Djokovic (1) vs Tomas Berdych (7)
Berdych has taken advantage of a favorable draw to arrive at this stage—this match will constitute the first time he has played an opponent seeded higher than he during the fortnight. Djokovic must also feel he has an opportunity—the withdrawal of both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer opened the draw in a big way for Nole. He is seeking to win his first French crown, which would give him a career Slam and the distinction of holding all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. Although Nole’s clay season was not quite up to his usual standard, it was still excellent compared to most others. The best player in the game for the past several years, it would be dangerous to count him as anything but the favorite.
Prediction: Djokovic in four
Dominic Thiem (13) vs David Goffin (12)
Thiem has also made the most of his French Open draw. Due to the draw’s structure and several upsets, Thiem has yet to compete against any seeded players. Thiem is something of a clay specialist—two of his three titles this season have come on the dirt—and seems at home on the terre batue. His opponent, David Goffin, has been a fixture near the top of the men’s game for the past few seasons. However, Thiem has more weapons than Goffin (notably, a big serve and forehand). Though young, Thiem has proved himself this season and should be able to overpower Goffin’s consistency.
Prediction: Thiem in five for the big upset and his first Slam semifinal
Serena Williams (1) vs Yulia Putintseva
Serena, as always, has been a force during the fortnight and has progressed to the quarterfinals without dropping a set. Her opponent, Putintseva, has defeated a couple of seeded players, but it is hard to imagine that she would be able to compete with Serena. Serena seems destined to equal Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 Grand Slams. Unless an opponent can produce something special, Serena is likely to do so.
Prediction: Serena in straight sets