Images from Day 8 of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Sunday.
Zverev crushes Nishikori to reach quarter-finals
Alexander Zverev swept past Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the French Open quarter-finals for the third time on Sunday.
After a competitive opening set, the powerful German raced away from the Japanese player who lacked the firepower to make any impression on the sixth seed.
Zverev hit 25 winners and wrapped up the win in one hour 54 minutes to set up a last-eight clash with unseeded Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
"Hopefully I've got three more matches left here," Zverev, who has enjoyed some impressive from on clay this season with a title-run in Madrid, said on court.
Zverev started like a house on fire, surging into a 3-0 lead with some aggressive hitting.
But Nishikori, seeking a 13th Grand Slam quarter-final appearance and fourth on the Parisian clay, responded well and hit back to level at 3-3.
His challenge fizzled out though when he dropped serve at 4-5 to lose the first set and Zverev was in command thereafter.
When Zverev reached the quarter-finals in 2018 and 2019 he faced Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic respectively so with Davidovich Fokina up next he will be favourite to reach the semi-finals here for the first time.
But the 24-year-old said he will not be taking anything for granted.
"I mean, I have Davidovich Fokina for a reason. He won four matches, right? Let's give him some credit where they deserve credit," he said. "You cannot be a bad player and be in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam."
Serena knocked out in fourth round by Rybakina
American Serena Williams was knocked out in the fourth round of the French Open by Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina on Sunday, losing 6-3, 7-5 to the 21st seed.
Williams, 39, was below her best as her wait for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title went on.
Rybakina held her nerve superbly to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final, sealing victory as Williams struck a backhand return out.
Medvedev cruises into quarter-finals
Second seed Daniil Medvedev's new love affair with clay continued to blossom on Sunday with the Russian marching into the quarter-finals of the French Open with a commanding 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 win over Chilean 22nd seed Cristian Garin.
Medvedev, who has reached two Grand Slam finals on hardcourts but had never won a match in four previous appearances on the red clay at Roland Garros, came into the clash against Garin having lost in their previous meeting on clay, at the Madrid Masters.
But Garin failed to put up much resistance as the rangy Russian peppered the sun-bathed Suzanne Lenglen court with winners, especially from his laser-precise backhand, breaking his opponent's serve twice in each of the first two sets.
Garin, whose five singles titles have all come on clay, needed medical attention for problems with his right arm and neck before the third set and returned to the court an improved player, breaking Medvedev for the first time in the match.
It was Medvedev's turn to call the trainer on court to check an arm issue while trailing 2-0 and he soon found his range again to win three games in a row to level the third set at 3-3.
The Russian then got another break in the 11th game and sealed the match with a backhand winner down the line -- his 46th of the match -- to set up a mouth-watering clash against Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Tsitsipas breezes past Carreno Busta into quarters
Stefanos Tsitsipas held off a late challenge from Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta to advance into the quarter-finals of the French Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory on Sunday.
The Greek, who won two titles on clay in the lead-up to Roland Garros, was barely troubled in the first two sets, often charging to the net and easily reading his opponent's serve.
But a lack of precision in key moments allowed Carreno Busta to threaten a comeback in the third, only for the fifth seed to tighten his grip again and make sure he wasted little time on court Philippe Chatrier.
Tsitsipas, a semi-finalist here last year, will face either world number two Daniil Medvedev of Russia or Chile's Cristian Garin.
"The fans love it, I love it, I love playing with people, I love attention," Tsitsipas, who played his previous match in an empty stadium because of the local nine p.m. COVID-induced curfew, said in a courtside interview.
"It's a privilege and a great sensation for me. Today it was working good for me, I felt like my tactics were working even if I missed some of my drop shots."
Tsitsipas moved 4-0 ahead in a near-perfect start with Carreno Busta looking unable to find his range.
The second set went through in the blink of an eye but Carreno Busta, who reached the last eight at Roland Garros last year, mixed up his game to move 4-1 up in the third as Tsitsipas failed to convert his breaking opportunities.
The Greek, however, just had to move up a gear to turn it around, and he wrapped up the win with a crosscourt forehand winner.
Pavlyuchenkova rolls back the years in Paris to reach last eight
Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova rolled back the years as she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open for the first time since 2011 by beating former world number one Victoria Azarenka 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday.
The 31st seed, who will play in the last eight of a Grand Slam for the seventh time but has never progressed further, sent down 44 winners in a display of constant aggression on a sun-kissed Philippe Chatrier court.
She will next face either 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams or Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina.
"It's incredible that I'm still playing tennis 10 years after, so it comes as a bit of a surprise to me. I fought on every point and I'm really happy to go through," said Pavlyuchenkova.
Belarusian Azarenka, seeded 15th, was a doubt for the claycourt major after withdrawing from the Madrid Open last month with back pain, but she had been solid so far.
Against Pavlyuchenkova, however, the 2020 US Open runner-up fell 3-1 behind after losing her first service game but she kept her cool to break back and steal her opponent's serve in the 11th game before holding to bag the opening set.
She dropped serve three times in a see-saw second set and Pavlyuchenkova took even more risks in the decider.
The Russian was rewarded with a break for 3-2 and she did not release her grip until Azarenka buried a backhand into the net on match point.
Badosa continues dream run at Roland Garros
Paula Badosa reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final when she beat former finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, with her aggressive baseline play outclassing the Czech 20th seed on Court Suzanne Lenglen on Sunday.
The players traded breaks in the opening stages and were level at 4-4 when Badosa broke again before keeping her nerve to save two break points in the final game to seal the opening set.
While Badosa thrived on the longer rallies, Vondrousova looked to finish points quickly and the Czech claimed the crucial break to go up 4-2 before serving out the second set to take it into a decider.
Vondrousova's fatigue was in stark contrast to the energy of Badosa, who broke twice to take a 4-1 lead in the final set.
The Spaniard broke a third time in the final game, when Vondrousova's return on her second match point went long, to set up a quarter-final clash with unseeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek.
Zidansek beats Cirstea to storm into quarter-finals
Tamara Zidansek became the first woman from Slovenia to reach the singles quarter-finals of a Grand Slam on Sunday with a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea at the French Open.
The pair traded breaks in the first two games of a tight opening set on Court Suzanne Lenglen before Zidansek raised her level in the tiebreak to take the advantage in the match when an error-prone Cirstea hit a wild forehand wide.
World number 85 Zidansek had never been beyond the second round at a Grand Slam before this year's tournament in Paris but it was 2009 Roland Garros quarter-finalist Cirstea who showed signs of nerves at the start of the second set.
The 23-year-old Zidansek became more aggressive as Cirstea struggled to move freely because of an ankle issue and raced ahead 5-0 before closing out the victory in 86 minutes.
Zidansek will face Spain's Paula Badosa in the last eight.