In the evening, for the first time of the Parisian fortnight, a female poster is on the program: it opposes the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, world N.2, to the American Sloane Stephens (30th).
. Djokovic pitched
First of the two main favorites of the Parisian Grand Slam, in the absence of Rafael Nadal who has just undergone arthroscopy on the left hip, to invest the Center Court Sunday afternoon, Djokovic did not linger, unsurprisingly.
Facing Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas, 94th in the world and who had never won a single Grand Slam match before Roland-Garros, the 36-year-old Serb closed the game 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in less than two hours by playing his "best tennis since the beginning" of the Parisian fortnight.
"Today's performance obviously gives me a lot of confidence about my feelings and my game," said the current world No. 3.
At the end, one more record: that of the number of quarter-finals at Roland-Garros. On the home court of Nadal, who has triumphed there fourteen times, Djokovic reaches this stage of the tournament for the 17th time in his career. That's one more than +Rafa+.
His opponent in the quarterfinals will be Russian puncher Karen Khachanov. The world No. 11, semifinalist of the last two Grand Slams (US Open 2022 and Australian Open 2023), overthrew Italian Lorenzo Sonego (48th) 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-1.
"I know what my goal is here," Djokovic said.
In Paris, he has, for the first time, the opportunity to become the first man with 23 Grand Slam titles to his name. Again, it would make him one more than Nadal.
. Alcaraz extinguished Musetti
Entering the Central after Djokovic, Alcaraz extinguished on the same score, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, he in just over two hours, the talented Italian Lorenzo Musetti (18th), another face of the new generation of world tennis, of which we expected a completely different resistance.
The Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz at the beginning of his match against the Italian Lorenzo Musetti Sunday, June 4 in the 8th final of the men's tournament of Roland Garros. © Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP
But his sparkling record of 42 winning shots against only 23 direct faults says a lot about the quality of play offered by the world No. 1.
"I played at a great level, my shots were of great quality, I played a really complete match," said Carlitos, who quickly had answers to almost everything and did not let Musetti breathe, despite having a better start.
Qualified for the quarter-finals, the 20-year-old Spaniard equals his best result on the Parisian clay. He was stopped there by Alexander Zverev, then in the top 5 in the world, a year ago.
For a place in the last four, he will face either the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, world No. 5, or the Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner (118th).
"I try not to think about the No. 1 position, the pressure, winning the tournament. I try to get all these thoughts out of my mind, and just play tennis, enjoy it and smile all the time," said Alcaraz, who became the youngest world No. 1 in history last September in the wake of his first Grand Slam title, at the US Open.
No one has won more matches on clay than him in 2023: now 24 out of 26 played.
. Sabalenka in the evening
After six first men's posters, Sabalenka and Stephens have the honors of the evening session on Centre Court.
The one who emerges victorious will face the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, already back in the quarterfinals of Grand Slam less than eight months after giving birth to her first child, Skaï.
Svitolina (28), former world No. 3, dismissed World No. 9 Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
"It was high time to put a +night session+ with a women's match, launched the world N.7 Ons Jabeur. It's a bit weird that there aren't two matches (every night), one male and one female," like at the Australian Open and the US Open.
© JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP
"We did not want, like the other Grand Slams, to finish at two o'clock, three o'clock, four o'clock in the morning," said Sunday the director of Roland-Garros Amélie Mauresmo.
The first known quarterfinal in the women's draw will pit Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, out of the circuit for most of the 2022 season because of a long-term injury to her left knee, against Czech Karolina Muchova (43rd).
© 2023 AFP