* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Twenty-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland will take on number 17 seed Maria Sakkari in the first meeting between this pair at the quarter-finals stage of the French Open. Defending champion Swiatek advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Marta Kostyuk while Sakkari overpowered Sofia Kenin to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
The furthest she had gone in a Grand Slam event prior was the fourth round in both the 2020 Australian Open and 2020 US Open. This inexperience, I believe, will hinder Sakkari in the opening set of this meeting and she’ll struggle to deal with the more experienced Swiatek, who has yet to drop a set.
A week after her 20th birthday Swiatek is in the unexpected position of being the most experienced player in the field in terms of major success, having won her maiden title here last year, and this experience should show in the opening set. The young Pole has been striking the ball cleanly in Paris – especially off the backhand wing – and will look to take control of the match from the get-go.
With the quarter-finals upon us it is likely that the matches are going to become more competitive as two of the form players go head to head for a place in the last four. Neither player has dropped a set in their impressive progression through the tournament and, with both players in such good form, I predict Diego Schwartzman to pick up at least one set as he did when the two previously met in 2018 at Roland Garros.
Although the head-to-head record between the two is strongly in favour of Rafa Nadal, Schwartzman did manage to beat the Spaniard 2-0 on clay in Rome last year and this should give him confidence. With Nadal ageing, his younger opponent should be able to pick up one set, however, I see the ‘King of the Clay’ coming out on top in this one. The defending champion has looked in great form in his four previous games and will fancy his chances of dispatching the 10th seed.
Having looked unstoppable across the first three rounds at Roland Garros 2021, Novak Djokovic avoided a major upset in his fourth-round encounter against Lorenzo Musetti. The World No. 1 found himself trailing by two sets after more than two hours of play. The Serb, who has turned himself into a giant at tiebreaks, lost two of them to a teenager playing in his first Grand Slam.
However Djokovic’s class shone through and he ran away with the remainder of the match in less than an hour, winning 16 of the next 17 games, at which point the Italian retired. With the victory, the 34-year-old reached the quarter-finals for the 15th time in 17 appearances in Paris. Matteo Berrettini, on the other hand, received a bye in the fourth round after Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament making him fresher than his older opponent.
This freshness, coupled with the Italian’s impressive form, should see him offer Djokovic a real challenge and I believe he will have enough to win at least one set against his Serbian counterpart. Berrettini has won more than 70% of his service points in every match he has played in Paris this year and is the only player to record such numbers. However, as in the previous round, I see Djokovic’s superior class and experience coming to the fore and I see him progressing to the semi-final.
Tips for Wednesday at Roland Garros
Maria Sakkari v Iga Swiatek – Set 1 Correct Score, Swiatek 6-1
Rafael Nadal v Diego Schwartzman – Both players to win a set
Novak Djokovic v Matteo Berrettini – Djokovic to Win & both players win a set
* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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