Iga Swiatek hands out couple of ‘bagels’ at French Open as Carlos Alcaraz finds groove

Iga Swiatek plays a backhand return in her French Open match against Anastasia Potapova. Picture: Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP

Iga Swiatek plays a backhand return in her French Open match against Anastasia Potapova. Picture: Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP

Published Jun 2, 2024


Iga Swiatek ramped up her pursuit of a third successive French Open crown on Sunday by storming into the quarter-finals with a 40-minute blitz, while Carlos Alcaraz produced an assured display to blow past Felix Auger-Aliassime.

World number one Swiatek demolished Russia's Anastasia Potapova by dishing up two “bagels” - 6-0, 6-0 - and will go on to play Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, the fifth seed who ended the run of Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic in straight sets.

"It went pretty quickly," said Swiatek, who dropped only 10 points in the shortest completed match of her career as the rain which has disrupted the first week of the tournament in Paris finally relented.

"I was really focused and in the zone. I wasn't looking at the score so I continued working on my game."

The 23-year-old Pole's quickfire victory came on the same Court Philippe Chatrier where men's number one Novak Djokovic had completed his third round win at 3:07 a.m., the latest finish to a French Open match after more than four hours and five sets.

Swiatek, who saved a match point against Naomi Osaka in the second round, is a red-hot favourite to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen and become only the fourth woman to win four Roland Garros titles in the Open era.

She is looking to become just the second woman after Serena Williams to complete the clay-court treble of Madrid, Rome and French Opens in the same season.

US Open champion Coco Gauff made light work of Elisabetta Cocciaretto, sweeping past the world number 51 from Italy 6-1, 6-2 in exactly an hour.

Cocciaretto had taken down two seeds to reach the last 16 of a major for the first time but was no match for third seed Gauff, the 2022 French Open runner-up.

"This week I feel like I've been managing and playing well," said Gauff.

Ons Jabeur is looking to turn the page on a miserable first half of the season, with a quarter-final showing in Madrid the only time heading into Roland Garros she had won multiple matches at a single event.

The Tunisian eighth seed, a three-time Grand Slam finalist, meets Denmark's Clara Tauson for a spot in the last eight. The winner of that tie advances to face Gauff.

'Hope he likes it less'

Alcaraz has said he increasingly feels much more like himself in Paris after an injury-hit build-up saw him sidelined by a sore forearm for almost a month.

His 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Canadian 21st seed Auger-Aliassime suggested he is rounding into top form, sending an ominous signal to his rivals.

The 21-year-old Spaniard pumped 34 winners past an ailing Auger-Aliassime, who took a medical timeout during the second set for treatment on his leg.

"I'm really happy with my performance. I think I played a really high level of tennis," said Alcaraz, who was beaten by eventual champion Djokovic in the semi-finals in Paris last year.

"The most important thing is to believe in myself. It doesn't matter that I don't have too many matches on my back and that I didn't come with a lot of rhythm."

Alcaraz moves on to play Stefanos Tsitsipas after the 2021 Roland Garros runner-up fended off Italy's Matteo Arnaldi 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-2, the turning point coming in the second set when he saved four set points.

"It was one of the craziest comebacks I've had," said ninth seed Tsitsipas. "That game when I broke (down 5-3 in the second set) was the biggest pleasure I've experienced in tennis for a long time."

Alcaraz boasts a 5-0 career head-to-head record over Tsitsipas with three wins on clay, including a straight-sets victory in the quarter-finals here a year ago.

"He has said in the past he likes playing against me, so I hope he gets to like it a little bit less this time," said Tsitsipas.

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Second seed Jannik Sinner has yet to drop a set through three rounds and takes on the last remaining Frenchman in the draw, Corentin Moutet, in the night session.

Australian Open champion Sinner has lost only two matches this year and will replace Djokovic as world number one if he reaches the final.

Sinner withdrew from Madrid with a hip problem and then skipped Rome, a precaution which appears to be paying off.

"I feel good. The hip at the moment feels good," he said. "Me and my team, we made a very good job to be in the position to play here."