PARIS: Italian teenager Jannik Sinner became the first debutant to reach the French Open quarter-finals since Rafael Nadal in 2005 when he downed German sixth seed Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 on Sunday.
The 19-year-old, who will also be the youngest male player since Novak Djokovic in 2006 to feature in the last eight at Roland Garros, will face 12-times champion Nadal for a place in the semi-finals.
The South Tyrolian, winner of last year’s NextGen ATP Finals, dropped a set for the first time in the tournament but he never lost his composure.
Sinner ended it on a windswept Court Suzanne Lenglen with a booming forehand that Zverev could only return into the net.
Frenchman Hugo Gaston, who plays later on Sunday, and German Daniel Altmaier, on court on Monday, are other debutants looking to reach the last eight in Paris.
Third seed Elina Svitolina ended the run of local hope Caroline Garcia in the French Open with a 6-1 6-3 win on Sunday to move into her third quarterfinal at Roland Garros.
On a day that the women’s draw lost top seed Simona Halep and fifth seed Kiki Bertens, Svitolina, who reached the last eight in 2015 and 2017, put in a solid performance to be the highest-ranked player remaining in the claycourt Grand Slam.
Garcia had come from a set and a break down to win her past three meetings against fellow 26-year-old Svitolina, but there was no such repeat as the Ukrainian broke her opponent’s serve six times to complete her victory in 63 minutes.
Svitolina converted her first match point when Garcia sent a forehand wide, and she will play Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska in the semifinals. – Reuters