French Open: Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams continue title bids
Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams headline Thursday’s French Open action with four remaining quarter-finals scheduled to feature.
After a bumper Wednesday that saw the men’s and women’s fourth round finally completed, Thursday’s forecasts suggest there will be a few early-morning showers but it should otherwise be another cool, cloudy day so there is every likelihood the matches will be completed on time.
Djokovic will open proceedings on Philippe-Chatrier Court against seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who has moved into the last eight without creating many headlines.
The Czech beat David Ferrer in straight sets on Wednesday and both men are likely to be fresh, with Djokovic losing just one set on route to the quarters, that coming in his last 16 win over Roberto Bautista Agut.
Despite a straightforward path the world No 1 hasn’t quite been at his best as he seeks a maiden French Open title. Victory in Paris would see him hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.
The Serb has won the last 10 meetings but Berdych can perhaps take solace in the fact that one of his two wins came on clay – a three-set quarter-final victory at the Rome Masters in 2013.
The women’s world No 1 and defending champion Serena Williams will play her quarter-final against the unseeded Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan.
Williams is targeting a fourth Roland Garros crown and a 22nd Grand Slam title, which would take her level with Steffi Graf for the most major titles in the Open era and just two behind Margaret Court’s total of 24.
She will face world No 60 Putintseva, the surprise quarter-finalist who beat 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the last 16.
Two of the ATP Tour’s coming forces meet on Suzanne-Lenglen when Belgium’s 12th seed David Goffin meets Austria’s 13th seed Dominic Thiem.
Thiem is a two-time winner on Tour this year and is through to the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time. Many observers are tipping the 22-year-old as a future world No 1 and multiple major winner.
However Goffin, three years Thiem’s senior, is enjoying a career-best run at a Slam as well and also leads the head-to-head between the pair 4-2, including a third-round win at the Australian Open earlier this year.
They have met twice before on clay, both in finals, with Thiem victorious in Gstaad last year and Goffin taking the title in front of Thiem’s home fans in Kitzbuhel in 2014.
We have one match remaining so we will go for unseeded Kiki Bertens to continue her fairytale and see off in-form eighth seed Timea Bacsinszky.
In truth Bertens will have to be at her best as Bacsinsky is yet to drop a set in her march to the quarter-finals and hammered Venus Williams 6-2 6-4 in the last 16.
Andy is the last Murray standing after Jamie’s mixed doubles campaign came to an end on Wednesday with a straight-sets defeat.
Murray and partner Hao-Ching Chan were beaten by sixth seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
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Andy Murray ended any hopes of a home singles champion, the world No 2 rode out an impressive opening storm from Richard Gasquet to come through in straight sets and silence Philippe-Chatrier Court.