Daily Observer (Jamaica)

Nadal breezes at Roland Gar­ros, Thiem es­capes and Zverev in sick­ness row

- Sports · Tennis · Rafael Nadal · Paris · France · Dominic Thiem · Alexander Zverev · Italy · Italy National Football Team · Novak Djokovic · United States of America · US Open · Stanislas Wawrinka · Simona Halep · Ashleigh Barty · Osaka · Naomi Ōsaka · Serena Williams · Prague · Rome · Argentina · Argentina national football team · Kiki Bertens · Elina Svitolina · Ukraine · Sofia Kenin · Petra Kvitová · Tunisia · Ons Jabeur · Diego Schwartzman · Tunisia national football team

PARIS, France (AFP) — Twelve-time cham­pion Rafael Nadal breezed into his 14th Roland Gar­ros quar­ter-fi­nal yes­ter­day as Do­minic Thiem sur­vived an epic five-set­ter and Alexan­der Zverev stunned the novel coro­n­avirus-af­fected tour­na­ment by ad­mit­ting he played de­spite be­ing sick and was strug­gling to breathe.

On a dra­matic, windswept and chilly day in the French cap­i­tal, teenagers Jan­nik Sin­ner and Iga Swiatek cre­ated shock­waves by reach­ing their maiden Grand Slam quar­ter-fi­nals.

Nadal beat Amer­i­can qual­i­fier Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 to stay com­fort­ably on course for a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam crown.

It was Nadal’s 97th win at the tour­na­ment against just two de­feats since his ti­tle-win­ning de­but in 2005.

“It was a good per­for­mance and I am happy with that,” said Nadal, who has now made his 42nd quar­ter-fi­nal at a ma­jor.

He will next face Italy’s Sin­ner, 19 and ranked 75, who de­feated Zverev 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to be­come the youngest men’s Grand Slam quar­ter-fi­nal­ist since No­vak Djokovic in Paris in 2006.

In a tour­na­ment turned up­side down by the coro­n­avirus, which meant a four­month de­lay and with a crowd ca­pac­ity of just 1,000 a day, Zverev ad­mit­ted he had played de­spite ill­ness.

The Ger­man star, run­ner-up to Thiem at the US Open, raised ques­tions over whether he should even have been al­lowed to take to the court when he re­vealed he had been feel­ing ill since his win over Marco Cecchi­nato in the pre­vi­ous round.

“I am com­pletely sick af­ter the match with Cecchi­nato in the night. I can’t re­ally breathe, as you can hear by my voice,” said Zverev.

I SHOULDN’T HAVE PLAYED

“I’m not in the best phys­i­cal state. I shouldn’t have played.”

Zverev, 23, was up to date with his tour­na­ment-man­dated COVID-19 tests, the French Tennis Fed­er­a­tion (FFT) said in a state­ment. His last one was on Septem­ber 29.

How­ever, the FFT added that the Ger­man “did not con­sult the tour­na­ment doc­tors be­fore his match”.

Zverev’s pre­vi­ous coro­n­avirus test was neg­a­tive. The re­sult was re­ceived on Septem­ber 30.

“To­day [Sun­day] he re­ceived a re­minder for his next test, to be car­ried out within five days of the pre­vi­ous re­sults,” the FFT added.

Sin­ner the is first player to reach the last eight on his Roland Gar­ros de­but since Nadal lifted the tro­phy in 2005.

“To­day was very tough know­ing that it’s go­ing to be a long match, but in the end I’m very happy about my per­for­mance,” said Sin­ner.

Third seed Thiem, the run­ner-up to Nadal for the last two years, was given a ma­jor scare by France’s Hugo Gas­ton, ranked at 239, who stunned 2015 cham­pion Stan Wawrinka in five sets in the third round.

Thiem made the last eight for a fifth-straight year but had to bat­tle for a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3 win and will now face Ar­gen­tine 12th seed Diego Schwartz­man for a place in the semi-fi­nals.

“He plays drop shots from an­other planet,” 27-year-old Thiem said of Gas­ton, the last French­man in the draw. “I was lucky to make it through.”

World num­ber 54 Swiatek, 19, shocked top seed and ti­tle favourite Si­mona Halep 6-1, 6-2.

Swiatek fired 30 win­ners past 2018 cham­pion Halep, who failed to carve out a sin­gle break point.

“I am sur­prised I could do this,” ad­mit­ted Swiatek af­ter end­ing the 17-match win­ning streak of Halep, the over­whelm­ing favourite in the ab­sence of 2019 cham­pion Ash­leigh Barty and US Open win­ner Naomi Osaka, and fol­low­ing the in­jury-en­forced with­drawal of Ser­ena Wil­liams.

It was a stun­ning turn­around for the Pole who won just one game against the Ro­ma­nian at the same stage in Paris last year, swept off court in just 45 minutes.

Halep, who had ar­rived in Paris with clay­court ti­tles from Prague and Rome, ad­mit­ted: “She played re­ally well. It was her match to­day.”

Qual­i­fiers Martina Tre­visan of Italy, ranked at 159, and 131st-ranked Na­dia Podor­oska of Ar­gentina, made the quar­ter-fi­nals with wins over fifth seed Kiki Bertens and Barbora Kre­j­cikova, re­spec­tively.

Tre­visan, 26, put out Bertens 6-4, 6-4 and will now face Swiatek.

Podor­oska, also mak­ing her main draw de­but, de­feated Kre­j­cikova 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 and will next face third seed Elina Svi­tolina of Ukraine.

The 23-year-old Podor­oska, who was ranked at 255 at the start of the sea­son, has now won 42 matches across all tours in 2020 de­spite the trun­cated sea­son.

Svi­tolina reached the quar­ter-fi­nals for the third time with a 6-1, 6-3 win over France’s Caro­line Gar­cia.

Yes­ter­day’s shocks mean that only four seeds re­main in the women’s draw— Svi­tolina, fourth-seeded Aus­tralian Open cham­pion Sofia Kenin, two-time Wim­ble­don win­ner Pe­tra Kvi­tova, seeded at seven, and Tu­nisia’s Ons Jabeur, the 30th seed.

 ?? (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP) ?? Spain’s Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Sebastian Korda (not shown) of the US dur­ing their men’s sin­gles fourth-round tennis match on day 8 of the Roland Gar­ros 2020 French Open tennis tour­na­ment in Paris, yes­ter­day.
Ar­gentina’s Na­dia Podor­oska re­turns the ball to Czech Re­pub­lic’s Barbora Kre­j­cikova (not shown) dur­ing their women’s sin­gles fourthroun­d tennis match on day 8 of the Roland Gar­ros 2020 French Open tennis tour­na­ment, in Paris yes­ter­day.
(Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP) Spain’s Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Sebastian Korda (not shown) of the US dur­ing their men’s sin­gles fourth-round tennis match on day 8 of the Roland Gar­ros 2020 French Open tennis tour­na­ment in Paris, yes­ter­day. Ar­gentina’s Na­dia Podor­oska re­turns the ball to Czech Re­pub­lic’s Barbora Kre­j­cikova (not shown) dur­ing their women’s sin­gles fourthroun­d tennis match on day 8 of the Roland Gar­ros 2020 French Open tennis tour­na­ment, in Paris yes­ter­day.

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