Novak Djokovic qualified Sunday, June 4, for the quarterfinals of Roland-Garros by dominating the Peruvian Juan-Pablo Varillas (94th in the world) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. He reached this stage of the tournament for the 17th time, a new record.

"I'm very proud, but it means I'm not young!" said the 36-year-old Serb of the record, achieved by playing his "best tennis since the beginning of the tournament".

Rafael Nadal has played 16 quarters in the Paris Major he has won 14 times, as Djokovic aims for a third title to bring the record for Grand Slam titles to 23.

The Serb (3rd) is about to play his 55th quarter-final in a Grand Slam tournament (the record of 58 is held by Roger Federer and Nadal has 47). He has always reached the quarters in Paris since 2010.

To reach the last four, he will first have to dismiss Tuesday the Russian Karen Khachanov (11th), who eliminated the Italian Lorenzo Sonego (48th) 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-1.

Alcaraz switches off Musetti and will face Tsitsipas

For his part, the world N.1 Carlos Alcaraz extinguished the talented Italian Lorenzo Musetti (18th), another face of the new generation, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Qualified for the quarterfinals, Alcaraz (20) 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.

The duel between two of the faces of the new generation of world tennis finally came to an end quickly. At the very beginning of the game, Alcaraz was jostled and Musetti inspired, but it only lasted a few minutes. Time for the Italian to lead 2-0, and that's it. "Carlitos" immediately returned to height, then he began to have answers to almost everything and did not let Musetti breathe, defeated in just over two hours.

His sparkling record of 42 winning shots against only 23 direct faults says a lot about the quality of play of Juan Carlos Ferrero's protégé on Sunday.

Alcaraz and Djokovic are just one win away from giving life for good in the semifinals to the anticipated shock from the draw.

For a place in the last square, the young Spaniard will face the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th). The latter, opposed to the modest Sebastian Ofner (118th), held his rank to dispose of the Austrian in three sets (7-5, 6-3, 6-0). The Greek finished the game in 1:50 and offers the third quarter-final of his career Porte d'Auteuil.

Svitolina and Sabalenka qualified

On the women's side, Ukraine's Elina Svitolina confirmed her return to the forefront by reaching the quarters of Roland-Garros thanks to her 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) victory against Russia's Daria Kasatkina (9th).

As expected, the two players did not shake hands late in the match, with Kasatkina going straight to greet the chair umpire before raising her thumb towards Svitolina, congratulating her victory.

Kasatkina has repeatedly taken a stand against the Russian-led war in Ukraine, and accepts that Ukrainian women do not greet Russians or Belarusians.

As against Blinkova, Svitolina paradoxically had a harder time winning her service games than those of her opponent. She failed to finish on her first match ball when she was serving at 5-4 in the second set, or when she served again for the match at 6-5.

She finally managed to close the match in the deciding game. The former N.3 in the WTA rankings, now 192nd, will meet Belarusian a (2nd) in the quarterfinals. She beat American Sloane Stephens (30th) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

Sabalenka, winner of the Australian Open in January, is the main rival of defending champion Iga Swiatek (No. 1) in the race for the trophy this year in Paris, especially since the forfeit before her third round of Kazakh Elena Rybakina (4th).

Despite air holes, the 25-year-old proved on Sunday that she had not lost her tennis while she seems to have been psychologically affected by the insistence of some journalists to ask her about her position on the war in Ukraine and her relations with the authoritarian Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko.

On court Sunday night, on the occasion of the first night of Roland-Garros dedicated to a women's match, she quickly took the lead by escaping 5-0 in the first set.

But she then multiplied the direct faults (25 in total in the set) and allowed Stephens to come back to 5-5 having had a first ball of the set at 5-2, then three others at 5-4.

Sabalenka stopped the bleeding, but could not avoid the decisive game, in which she seized the first opportunity to close the set, on her fifth ball of the set.

She then broke in the second set to lead 3-2, but she offered the break a little later by committing three direct faults and a double fault to allow Stephens to recover to 4-4. In the aftermath, the Belarusian again took her opponent's serve and served for the match at 5-4. This time, she didn't tremble.

With AFP and Reuters

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