Tsitsipas sees off Dimitrov straight sets, Rublev next

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev won their respective matches to set up a blockbuster quarterfinal clash

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Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 (9), 6-2 in the battle of the one-handed backhands to reach his maiden French Open quarterfinals on Monday.

The fifth seed will next take on another rising star, Andrey Rublev, who also made the last eight at Roland Garros for the very first time. Rublev overcame a strong start by Hungarian Marton Fucsovics to earn a 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory in just under four hours.

Having fallen behind 6-7(4), 2-5, the Russian flipped the script to score another comeback victory in the tournament. In the first round against the experienced Sam Querrey, Rublev had clawed back from a 0-2 set deficit for the first time in his career.

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This is the 22-year-old’s second straight Grand Slam quarterfinal: he had made the final eight at the US Open last month. Rublev is enjoying the best season of his career in 2020. He now has a 29-6 win-loss record and has won titles in Doha, Adelaide and Hamburg.

The Russian leads Tsitsipas 2-0 in their Head2Head series, which includes an enthralling 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win in the Hamburg final eight days ago.

Meanwhile, Tsitsipas, also 22, is building on the form he showed en route to the Hamburg final. After rallying from two sets down in his opening match against Jaume Munar, the World No. 6 has now won three consecutive matches without dropping a set.

The Greek landed 24 winners and saved two set points in the second set against Dimitrov to register his 10th win in 12 matches this year on clay.

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“We have a similar style of play so I knew if I could be as aggressive as possible and use my forehand and my serve I knew my opportunities would come,” said Tsitsipas.

“My aggressiveness on return games and my focus on important points made the difference.”

Kvitova back in QF after eight years

Petra Kvitova reached the French Open quarterfinals for the first time in eight years as she overpowered China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-4.

The 30-year-old, who returned to action at the 2017 French Open following a knife attack six months earlier that left her with career-threatening hand injuries, had made the semi-finals in 2012 for her best finish at the clay-court Slam.

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“It was a great one today for sure,” said Kvitova. “To be back on the same court that I made my comeback and to make the quarter-final is something I didn’t expect. I’m trying to play faster here and play aggressive off the returns.”

Kvitova is only of the three top-10 seeds remaining in the draw and will sense her chance to equal or better her best show at the French Open as she faces unseeded German Laura Siegemund next.

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Siegemund came through a tense opening set before cruising past Spaniard Paula Badosa 7-5, 6-2 to reach her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal.

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