07 Jun 2023, 09:41

French Open: Guide to Wednesday's quarter-finals

PARIS, June 7, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Holger Rune and Casper Ruud go head-to-head at the French Open on Wednesday in a repeat of their bad-tempered quarter-final of 2022.

In another repeat match-up, two-time champion Iga Swiatek takes on Coco Gauff who she comfortably defeated in last year's final.

Here, AFP Sport takes a look at the quarter-finals on the 11th day of the 2023 tournament (x denotes seeded player):

- Holger Rune (DEN x6) v Casper Ruud (NOR x4) -

A repeat of the 2022 quarter-final which Ruud won in four sets with the battle continuing in the locker room afterwards.

In a bitter war of words, Rune, then just a precocious 19-year-old, accused his Norwegian rival of a "lack of respect".

Ruud, who went on to finish runner-up to Rafael Nadal, responded by advising Rune to "grow up".

Fourth-ranked Ruud holds a 4-1 career edge over the world number six but Rune won their most recent clash on clay in the Rome semi-finals.

The Dane believes Wednesday's match will not have the fireworks of 2022, but sounded as if he wasn't too convinced.

"Obviously there was drama last year and I hope we can make less drama this year," said Rune who made the last eight with a gruelling four-hour, five-set battle with Francisco Cerundolo.

"We played each other in Rome. It was a good match. He's a good player. I respect him. There's no problem. We're good.

"Should be a match without problems, hopefully."

Key stat: Ruud is the in-form clay court player with 85 wins on the surface since 2020.

- Alexander Zverev (GER x22) v Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) -

Twelve months ago, Zverev matched Nadal blow for blow in the semi-final before he turned awkwardly, tearing the ligaments in his ankle.

The German was taken off Court Philippe Chatrier in a wheelchair while surgery meant his season was over in June.

Olympic champion Zverev, a two-time semi-finalist in Paris, is in the quarter-finals for a fifth time in six years.

"For weeks after my injury I couldnt walk, and now I'm standing here again. I'm extremely happy," said the 26-year-old.

By contrast, Etcheverry, the world number 49, is in uncharted territory, appearing in his first Slam quarter-final having won just one match at the majors before arriving in Paris.

The 23-year-old has yet to drop a set at the tournament. Novak Djokovic is the only other quarter-finalist with a perfect record.

Key stat: Zverev has now reached nine quarter-finals at the majors while Etcheverry is in his first.

- Iga Swiatek (POL x1) v Coco Gauff (USA x6) -

To say Swiatek has been untroubled at the French Open would be an understatement.

The defending champion dropped just four games in each of the first two rounds, double-bageled Wang Xinyu in 51 minutes in the last 32 while fourth round opponent Lesia Tsurenko was 1-5 down in 31 minutes when she retired through illness.

Swiatek is bidding to become the first woman to successfully defend the title at Roland Garros since Justine Henin in 2007.

On Wednesday, she faces Gauff in a repeat of last year's final in which the American teenage managed just three games.

Tsurenko backed Swiatek to be crowned champion for a third time on Saturday.

"She's hitting the ball very hard. The serve is good. The return is good, everything is good," she said.

Gauff is in the last eight for a third successive year but has had to come back from dropping the opening set in two of her four matches so far.

Key stat: Swiatek leads the head-to-head with Gauff 6-0.

- Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA x14) v Ons Jabeur (TUN x7) -

Haddad Maia is the first Brazilian woman in the quarter-finals of a Slam since seven-time major winner Maria Bueno in 1968.

The left-hander has done it the hard way. She saved a match point to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova in the third round before seeing off Sara Sorribes Tormo in the third longest ever women's match at Roland Garros in the last 16.

Jabeur, the runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, has now reached the quarter-finals of all four Slams.

Apart from needing three sets to see off Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic in the third round, the popular Tunisian has made sedate, unruffled progress to the last eight.

Jabeur allowed Haddad Maia just three games in a comfortable straight sets win on clay in the Stuttgart quarter-finals in April.

Key stat: Three hours and 51 minutes, the length of time it took Haddad Maia to defeat Sorribes Tormo in the last round.

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