Roland Garros Day 8: Sinner sinks Zverev on day of shocks

  • Matt Trollope

Italian teenager Jannik Sinner ousted recent US Open finalist Alexander Zverev in four sets on an upset-riddled day at the French Open.

Exiting alongside Zverev were No.1 seed Simona Halep and fifth seed Kiki Bertens, while Dominic Thiem nearly became another big-name casualty before surviving in five sets against Hugo Gaston.

REPORT: Swiatek stuns Halep to reach quarterfinals

Three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal restored some order to the day and will play Sinner in the quarterfinals, while Elina Svitolina also progressed in straight sets.

Sinner surges, Thiem survives

Sinner, 19, continued to demonstrate why he is considered a star of the future; hitting cleanly and aggressively from up on the baseline, he overpowered Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3.

Zverev, who called for the trainer in the first set and later revealed he was struggling with illness, had few answers against Sinner, who will take on Nadal in his first major quarterfinal.

Nadal routed young American qualifier Sebastian Korda 6-1 6-1 6-2 and now stands just three match wins away from a 13th French Open trophy, a 20th Grand Slam title, and 100 career victories at Roland Garros.

"I'm in quarterfinals without losing a set and having very positive scores. So I can't complain at all."
Rafael Nadal, who has dropped just 23 games in four matches so far at Roland Garros.

Progression was not as simple for Dominic Thiem, who suffered a massive fright on Court Philippe Chatrier against 239th-ranked French wildcard Hugo Gaston before triumphing 6-4 6-4 5-7 3-6 6-3.

In the quarterfinals, the US Open champion will face recent Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman after the No.12 seed brushed Lorenzo Sonego aside 6-1 6-3 6-4.

Schwartzman, like Nadal, is yet to drop a set in Paris.

Svitolina stands tall in top half

Another player cruising into the last eight was No.3 seed Elina Svitolina, who dismantled Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-3 to reach the French Open quarterfinals for a third time.

Svitolina is the highest-ranked player remaining in the draw after the stunning departure of top seed Halep, who earlier on Sunday lost 6-1 6-2 to a surging Iga Swiatek.

Also falling was fifth seed Bertens, the latest victim of Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan, who won 6-4 6-4 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Instead of the marquee clay-court clash between Halep and Bertens that many had predicted, Trevisan and Swiatek will play for a place in their first Grand Slam semifinal.

Completing the quarterfinal line-up in the draw’s top half was Argentinian qualifier Nadia Podoroska, who extended her winning streak to 12 after beating Barbora Krejcikova 2-6 6-2 6-3. 

Upset of the day

Although tournament favourite Halep was on a 17-match win streak, and Zverev had just appeared in a major final, the pair lost to teenage talents who have been identified as future stars.

However, few predicted that Trevsian would upend Bertens – in straight sets, no less.

The left-hander, ranked No.159, is appearing in just her second ever Grand Slam main draw; in her first, at AO 2020, she fell in the first round to eventual champion Sofia Kenin.

Trevisan had previously only ever played one opponent ranked in the top 10, and that was Bertens, who overwhelmed her 6-2 6-1 in the second round of last year’s WTA tournament in Charleston.

Trevisan avenged that defeat in a big way on Sunday.

Stat of the day

For the first time in 42 years, two qualifiers – Trevisan and Podoroska – have won through to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.

Back in 1978, those qualifiers were Helga Mastoff and Miroslava Bendlova.

DRAW: French Open women's singles

Podoroska, in particular, has enjoyed stunning results in 2020, compiling a win-loss record of 39-6 – predominantly competing on the ITF circuit – and improving her ranking from No.255 to No.131.

The 23-year-old won her first two tournaments of the season, and a third title just before the French Open, to arrive in Paris with serious momentum.

Podoroska has won 17 of her past 18 matches on clay.

Quotes of the day

“I just read before that he played 53 drop shots. I think only three or four of them went into the net, so I made more than 50 full sprints to the net. So that was really, really tough.”
- Dominic Thiem, after outlasting Hugo Gaston in five sets.

Dominic Thiem clinches victory over wildcard Hugo Gaston on Court Philippe Chatrier; the world No.3 broke Gaston late in the fifth set and saved a break point in the final game to complete victory in three hours, 32 minutes. (Getty Images)

“I was in the bike stretching. After that Domi arrived, and we were kidding, Okay, this is the last time we talk each other until Tuesday (smiling). He was doing, like, he was going to hit me, like, in my legs but nothing happened (smiling).”
- Diego Schwartzman, who next faces Thiem in the quarterfinals.

“It's obvious that there is no other seeds I think in my quarter, so it is open. But me, I don't really care so much about it and don't pay attention as much. If I will be looking who is winning, who is losing, I will get lost (smiling). And also I'll put too much pressure on myself. It's like pointless to do that.”
- World No.5 Elina Svitolina, the only player ranked in the top 50 remaining in her half of the draw.

“I'm feeling fresh. Fortunately I didn't play so long matches, and I am feeling very, very well.”
- Qualifier Nadia Podoroska, who will be playing her eighth match at Roland Garros in 2020 when she takes on Svitolina in the quarterfinals.

"It's great to reach the quarterfinals here. I am quite calm, so even if inside I'm very happy and I don't show that so much … yeah, I'm happy.”
- Jannik Sinner, who has beaten No.11 seed David Goffin and No.6 seed Alexander Zverev to become the first player to reach the French Open quarterfinals on debut since Rafael Nadal in 2005.

Tweet of the day

The reigning US Open champion is not playing in Paris, but this result nevertheless caught Naomi Osaka’s eye.

Day 9: Ones to watch

Two marquee men’s matches headline the Monday schedule on Chatrier, with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov going head-to-head before world No.1 Novak Djokovic takes on 15th seed Karen Khachanov.

The pick of the women’s matches sees in-form Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro up against reigning AO champion Sofia Kenin, while Petra Kvitova opens the day’s play against China’s Zhang Shuai.

ORDER OF PLAY: Roland Garros Day 9

On Lenglen, Hamburg champion Andrey Rublev aims to extend his eight-match winning streak when he faces Marton Fucsovics, while Ons Jabeur and Danielle Collins clash in the following match.

Monday’s matches will see the quarterfinal line-up completed in Paris.