On Tuesday, Tamara Zidansek and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova each went the distance - and then some - to reach the semifinals of Roland Garros.
Who will join them? Here are Wednesday's quarterfinal matchups.
No.24 Coco Gauff vs. Barbora Krejcikova
We know they didn’t have a train to catch but, seriously, Gauff and Krejcikova couldn’t wait to get into these quarters.
Krejcikova defeated Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-0 – in 67 minutes. Gauff handled No.25 Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-1 – in 53 minutes.
This Wednesday tilt is exceedingly hard to call. Krejcikova has won nine straight matches, going back to the title at the Internationaux De Strasbourg. Gauff has won 13 of 14 matches on clay in less than one month’s time, including the semifinals in Rome and a title in Parma.
17yo Coco Gauff needs just 53 minutes to become the:— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 7, 2021
- Youngest woman to reach a Slam QF since 2006 RG (Nicole Vaidisova)
- Youngest American to reach QF at RG since 1993 (Jennifer Capriati)
- Youngest American to reach QF of a Slam since 1997 US Open (Venus Williams) pic.twitter.com/1LHos9zugA
Part of being a professional, Gauff already has learned, is turning weaknesses into strengths. She still leads the WTA with 166 double faults, but against Jabeur she didn’t have one.
“That’s obviously been a hurdle in my game,” Gauff said. “I truly feel like I’m, you know, getting over that hurdle. Today, I just served really well first and second serves, played the points pretty smart on my serve.
“The problem was my confidence on the serve, like I would play in practice, make 50 second serves in a row, and then I get to the match and get nervous. Now I don’t feel as nervous when I’m serving.”
Gauff, for the record, has the third-fastest serve in the women’s tournament (119.3 mph).
“She’s young,” Krejcikova said. “She’s incredible. You know, she has the weapons. She has the game. I think she’s mentally really tough. She’s going to be the next star.”
Krejcikova reached the round of 16 her last fall and knocked out No.5 seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 in the third round. She won the 2018 Roland Garros doubles title with Katerina Siniakova – five years after they won the junior title.
“She’s obviously been having a great clay season, and she’s a tough opponent,” Gauff said. “I think that she’s a really smart player and she’s been on tour for some time. She’s one of those players, I guess, an all-court player, she can play all parts of the court. She does well in singles and doubles and mixed doubles.
“I’m just going to go out there and just focus on playing my game and not so much about her.”
Maria Sakkari's coach Tom Hill, 26, and Iga Swiatek's coach Piotr Sierzputowski, 28, are two of the youngest coaches on the WTA tour.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 8, 2021
"Piotr is one of my closest friends on the tour. He texted me last night at 2:00 a.m., It's going to be a fun match. I was, like, Yeah."#RG21 pic.twitter.com/4rD1Ht0q8R
No.8 Iga Swiatek vs. No.17 Maria Sakkari
Over the years, Sakkari has made steady progress in the Grand Slams.
She made her first major draw in 2015 at the US Open and won her first match in the next one, the 2016 Australian Open. The first third round came at the 2017 Australian Open and the first fourth-round appearance at the 2020 Australian Open. Now, 17 months later, she’s into her first quarterfinal.
“I was stuck in the third round a lot of times, and that was an obstacle that I wanted to just kind of like break that curse and make it to the fourth round,” Sakkari said after defeating Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-3. “Now I’m excited to be in the quarterfinals for the first time. I knew it was going to come. I didn’t know when.”
Sakkari has produced back-to-back Top 20 wins in a Grand Slam for the first time.
“To be deadly honest, I was stressed before the match,” she said. “I was nervous because it’s a tennis match, so I want to win. Especially after winning that match against Elise [Mertens], playing the way I did, I think it was an extremely high-level match, that gave me so much confidence that I can do it again and again and again.”
Wednesday’s match promises to be tougher. Swiatek defeated 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk 6-3, 6-4, and has dropped only 20 games in the first four rounds.
Sakkari and Swiatek practiced together before the tournament.
“I mean, she’s the defending champion for a reason,” Sakkari said. “For sure she likes the court. For sure she likes the conditions, even though last year they were different.
“Even if it’s the No.1 in the world, 10 or 50 or whatever, they are for some reason playing in the quarterfinals.”
Swiatek, with partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, is also in the doubles quarterfinal. They saved seven match points against top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens, winning 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.