Thursday, September 28, 2023

Rafael Nadal loses out as Novak Djokovic French Open clash gets night session

Nadal Djokovic

PARIS, May 30: Rafael Nadal’s French Open quarter-final against long-time rival Novak Djokovic will take place in Tuesday’s night session at Roland Garros despite the 13-time champion’s desire to play in the day.
Officials confirmed Monday that the pair’s 59th career meeting will be the late match under the lights of Court Philippe Chatrier with the day’s other quarter-final between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev set for the afternoon.
“I don’t like to play on clay during the night, because the humidity is higher, the ball is slower, and there can be very heavy conditions especially when it’s cold,” said Nadal last week.
“I think that makes a big difference between the way tennis is played on clay during the night and during the day.”
Djokovic had hinted he would prefer to face Nadal as late as possible.
“All I will say is Rafa and I would make different requests,” said the world number one and defending champion.
Alcaraz said it would have been “unfair” if he was ordered to play after 9pm for the third time. Nadal and Djokovic have played one match each so far after dark.
Zverev was also dismissive of night-time conditions.
“I don’t mind the evening sessions when it’s 30 degrees during the day,” said the 25-year-old.
“When it’s 14 degrees, then in the night it’s going to be what, 8, 9, something like that, it gets difficult.”
Organisers faced a dilemma over scheduling with host broadcaster Prime Video having the rights to the tournament’s 10 night sessions.
Officials said an agreement had been reached whereby the match — the 10th between Djokovic and Nadal at Roland Garros — would be available free to air.
“The quarter-final match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal scheduled for Tuesday 31 May at 8:45 p.m. will be free to watch as unrestricted content in France across Prime Video mobile and web apps,” said a statement.
However, France’s public service broadcaster, which carries coverage of the tournament on terrestrial channels, hit out.
“France Televisions regrets this decision which deprives French viewers of one of the most beautiful adverts of the tournament,” they said in a statement.
Russian Kasatkina reaches second French Open quarter-final
Daria Kasatkina booked her place in the French Open quarter-finals for the second time on Monday with a comfortable victory over Italian 28th seed Camila Giorgi.
Russian Kasatkina, seeded 20th, took advantage of an error-strewn performance from Giorgi to win 6-2, 6-2 in only an hour and 20 minutes.
She will face compatriot Veronika Kudermetova in the quarter-finals.
“I’m excited about the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, that’s the most important… Who the opponent will be doesn’t matter,” Kasatkina said.
The 25-year-old broke into the world’s top 10 four years ago after reaching the last eight at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon before a slump in form.
But she reached four finals last season to climb back up the rankings and is now one win away from a first Grand Slam semi-final.
Kasatkina made just 10 unforced errors to Giorgi’s 37 in a dominant display on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Teenager Rune knocks out Tsitsipas to make French Open quarter-finals
Teenager Holger Rune became the first Danish man to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Monday when he shocked world number four and 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Rune, just 19 and ranked 40, swept to a memorable 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win on the back of 54 winners and will face Norway’s eighth seed Casper Ruud for a place in the semi-finals.
The last Danish man to reach the last-eight in any Slam was Jan Leschly at the 1967 US Championships.
With fellow 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz already into the quarter-finals, it is the first time two teenagers have made it this far in Paris since Hendrik Dreekman and Andrei Medvedev 28 years ago.
In a tense fourth set, Rune gave up a 5-2 lead and fought off three more break points in the 10th game before he secured victory when his Greek opponent hit long.
“I was very nervous and I knew that if I went away from my tactics I would lose,” said Rune.
“I told myself just stick to the plan and that gave me a confidence boost. It’s so great to still be here.
“My plan was to be aggressive because Stefanos can attack the short balls. I needed to take time off him.”
Rune recovered from a break down in the opening set to lead but Tsitsipas appeared to have steadied himself when he fought off three break points in the third game of the second set on his way to levelling the last-16 tie.
Rune carved out a key break for a 4-2 lead in the third set as he edged ahead once again in the match.
Despite being seeded to make the semi-finals, Tsitsipas had endured a testing French Open, coming back from two sets to love behind to defeat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round.
He then required four sets and four hours to see off Czech qualifier and 134th-ranked Zdenek Kolar in round two.
The Greek was unable to shake off his struggles against Rune in the fourth set on Monday and slipped down a double break to trail 3-2 and then 5-2. (AFP)