Świątek thumps Potapova and Djokovic plays until the early hours

Australia World

Defending champion Iga Świątek led the way as fancied players at the French Open progressed to the quarterfinals in double quick time on Sunday after Novak Djokovic sealed an epic victory in a match that ended in the early hours.

With Roland Garros still abuzz after that marathon in the clay court Grand Slam’s latest-ever finish at just after 3am local time, top seed Świątek produced a different kind of masterclass to beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0 in 40 minutes.

American Coco Gauff was not as ruthless as her Polish rival but equally efficient as she powered past Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1, 6-2 in an hour before Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova mowed down Serbian Olga Danilovic 6-4, 6-2.

Ons Jabeur continued her quest to win a maiden grand slam by taking out Danish giant-killer Clara Tauson 6-4 6-4.

It was largely one-way traffic on the men’s side too, as third-seed Carlos Alcaraz thumped Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to set up a rematch of his 2023 quarterfinal with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Matteo Arnaldi 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-2.

“I love these kinds of matches,” Alcaraz said.

“I’ve seen a lot of matches lately from Stefanos. I know he’s playing great tennis and has a lot of confidence right now. I have the key against him. I’ll try to play the shots that get him in trouble. I’ll try to show my best.

“Hopefully the crowd enjoys [it] as much as I’m going to. Let’s see how it’s going to be.”

Alcaraz’s entertaining victory meant the entire day session for singles on Court Philippe Chatrier was completed in exactly four hours, 29 minutes less than Djokovic needed to defeat Italian Lorenzo Musetti overnight.

The late finish came under criticism as Świątek and Gauff said grand slam organisers needed to rethink scheduling.

“I was always one of the players that said that we should start a little bit earlier,” Świątek told reporters.

“I don’t know if the fans are watching these matches if they have to go to work [the] next day when the matches are finishing at 2 or 3am.”

Organisers were forced to add an extra match before Djokovic played due to persistent rain this week, which added to the long night on Saturday.

“It’s a complicated thing but I think for the health and safety of the players it would be in the sport’s best interest to try to avoid those matches finishing — or starting — after a certain time,” Gauff said.

Sports content to make you think… or allow you not to. A newsletter delivered each Saturday.

Reuters