Mon, 25 Sep 2023

Not only is Coco loco about the French, she's just mad about their cakes. And 55 years after the last appearance, a Brazilian woman makes the quarters at the French Open.

Breakfast club

Soon after beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to reach the last eight, sixth seed Coco Gauff - an avowed Francophile - revealed she'd been profiting from her time in Paris to indulge in some breakfast goodies such as croissants and chocolate cake. "My agent said: 'What are you eating?' And I said: 'We're in Paris. Who cares?'"

Work that crowd

With the rise of the on-court post match natter, the non-locals have increasingly realised that you need to get le public on your side somehow. Speaking French helps. Roger Federer was fluent - making jokes and generally unfurling as good a show after his match as he had during the demolition of some hapless flunky. Coco Gauff said she'd been taking lessons and had learned how to say in French: "I like playing in Paris." Nothing quite so utilitarian for Holger Rune. After taking four hours to see off the 23rd seed Francisco Cerundolo on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Rune declared in English: "It's an incredible feeling to be on this court with such an incredible crowd." They all roared. Merci overhead projector with instant translations.

Long game

On becoming the first Brazilian woman to reach the last eight at the French Open since the legendary Maria Bueno in 1968, Beatriz Haddad Maia outlined her path to victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo in three hours and 51 minutes. The 14th seed cited discipline and fighting spirit. It was the third longest women's match at the French Open. The effort will bring a last eight clash with the seventh seed Ons Jabeur - also appearing in the quarter finals for the first time in Paris.

Short game

Top seed Iga Swiatek took 52 minutes to dispose of her third round opponent Xinyu Wang. The 22-year-old Pole was into the quarter-finals after 31 minutes. Lesia Tsurenko from Ukraine couldn't take it any more. She succumbed to the effects of a virus which had left her with breathing problems and dizziness since her third round match against Bianca Andreescu from Canada. "I could not practice and I thought that if I started the match against Iga maybe I would feel a little bit better. But, unfortunately, it was getting worse." Swiatek will take on the cake chomping Coco Gauff for a place in the semis.

Bring on the night

What's this? Another pop culture reference? And why not? Because there's a sting. After the brief flirtation with the women's draw on Day 8, the night matches were back on the testosterone. That's 8-1 to the lads. And in fact the 22nd seed Alex Zverev has featured more at night than the entire women's draw. After his Day 7 outing against the 12th seed Frances Tiafoe, the 22nd seed was back on centre court for the night gig. This time the 28th seed Grigor Dimitrov was the opponent. An entertaining encounter it was too. Dimitrov, sleek and stylish but out in three sets. Zverev into the quarters for the second year on the trot. Wonder when he'll play.

Originally published on RFI

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