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PIX: Djokovic survives scare to set up Tsitsipas semis

Last updated on: October 08, 2020 02:13 IST
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Images from Day 11 of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros, in Paris, on Wednesday.

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his quarter-final match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain on Day 11 of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, on Wednesday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

World number one Novak Djokovic reached his 10th French Open semi-final but suffered an injury scare before beating Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday.

 

A month after being defaulted for inadvertently striking a line judge with a ball while playing Carreno Busta in the US Open fourth round, the 33-year-old Serbian found himself in trouble once again.

This time it was nothing more sinister than apparent physical problems with the top seed wearing tape on the back of his neck and his upper arm requiring treatment.

Carreno Busta, who lost in the US Open semi-final after leading Alexander Zverev by two sets, took advantage to win the opening set -- the first conceded by Djokovic in the tournament.

Djokovic looked flat and had to save break points early in the second set before raising his game at the important moment to win the next two sets.

Carreno Busta hung on gamely but Djokovic was superior when it mattered and one break in the fourth was enough to set up a semi-final clash with Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Djokovic's dramatic disqualification in New York deprived him of a chance to win an 18th Grand Slam title and move to within one of Rafael Nadal's haul and two shy of Roger Federer's men's record of 20.

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic was determined to avoid a late night and completed an often laboured victory with a forehand winner. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

He looked relieved after avoiding another shock against the Spaniard he has found such an awkward customer of late.

"Many players have said it before me: these four Grand Slams matter the most in tennis history," Djokovic said afterwards on Court Philippe Chatrier on another damp and chilly night.

"They are the most popular tennis events in the world and a lot of kids dream of winning them."

Djokovic looked stiff and his swings restricted in the early exchanges and fired a forehand into the net to lose serve at 2-2, but broke back in the eighth game.

However he was banging his racket against his thigh in frustration as he dropped serve again before Carreno Busta held to take the opening set.

The alarm bells were ringing for Djokovic when he faced two break points at 1-1 in the second set but he saved them before raising his level to level the match.

It began to look like plain sailing when he led 3-0 in the third set before a dip allowed Carreno Busta back to 3-3 and the Spaniard wasted a break point when he went for glory on a forehand during a long baseline exchange.

Djokovic then reeled off three games to take the third set but was roaring in frustration as he missed four break points at 1-1 in the fourth and another at 2-2.

He did get the break at 3-3 but still Carreno Busta was dangerous and had chances to respond immediately.

But Djokovic was determined to avoid a late night and completed an often laboured victory with a forehand winner.

Tsitsipas stops Rublev

Stefanos Tsitsipas

IMAGE: Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates victory over Russia's Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals of the French Open. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his second Grand Slam semi-final as he raised his game after a slow start to defeat Russian Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 at the French Open on Wednesday.

Before the quarter-final on Court Philippe Chatrier, the 13th-seeded Rublev had won both previous tour-level meetings against fellow 22-year-old Tsitsipas with their last encounter less than two weeks ago in the final in Hamburg.

The Russian looked set to keep his record intact as he served for the first set at 5-4 but Tsitsipas, who also reached the semi-finals at last year’s Australian Open, then won three straight games to take the opener.

Tsitsipas did not look back from there and broke his opponent three more times in the next two sets to set up a meeting against either world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia or Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

Kenin survives Collins scare to enter semi-finals

Sofia Kenin

IMAGE: Sofia Kenin was made to work hard by fellow-American Danielle Collins, who had beaten her in their previous encounters, in the quarter-finals of the French Open, in Paris on Wednesday. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Fourth seed Sofia Kenin claimed her maiden French Open semi-final spot as she fought to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 victory against fellow-American Danielle Collins on Wednesday.

The Australian Open champion was kept on her toes for two sets by an opponent who had beaten her in their previous encounters before strolling through the decider to set up a clash with Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova.

Collins seemed bothered by midriff pains in the third set, looking unable to give her maximum effort in the finale on court Philippe Chatrier.

After a solid start on both sides, Collins served a woeful double fault to hand Kenin the first break of the match, and a 3-2 lead.

She held serve and set up another break point at 4-2 but Collins saved it to stay in contention.

Danielle Collins celebrates after winning the second set during her quarter-final against Sofia Kenin

IMAGE: Danielle Collins celebrates winning the second set during her quarter-final against Sofia Kenin. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Kenin was, however, solid on her service games and she bagged the opening set when her opponent’s return sailed wide.

It was the first time Kenin took a set against Collins in four encounters, and the fourth seed kept her momentum, breaking again for 3-2 in the second set as her unseeded opponent smacked a forehand long.

But this time, Collins hit back to level for 3-3 and she started to threaten Kenin’s serve, eventually breaking again to level.

The comeback was short-lived, though, as Collins quickly fell 4-0 behind in the decider before taking a medical timeout, holding her midriff as she went off the court for treatment.

Kenin easily won the remaining two games.

Kvitova powers past Siegemund

Petra Kvitova

IMAGE: Petra Kvitova celebrates after winning her quarter-final against Laura Siegemund of Germany. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova powered past unseeded German Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3 earlier to reach the semi-finals.

The 30-year-old, a two-times champion at Wimbledon, reached the last four stage on the claycourts at Roland Garros for the second time since 2012 and is yet to lose a set at this year's tournament in Paris.

Petra Kvitova

IMAGE: Petra Kvitova is yet to lose a set at this year's French Open. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Siegemund, ranked 66th in the world, did not pose a challenge in the opening set but gave a good account of herself in the second despite suffering a lower back problem midway through the set.

Kvitova converted her second match point when her 32-year-old opponent served a double fault and the Czech will meet the winner of the all-American clash between Danielle Collins and Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin for a place in the final.

Polish teenager Swiatek outclasses Italian qualifier Trevisan

Iga Swiatek

IMAGE: Iga Swiatek is the first Polish woman to reach the French Open semi-finals since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska was runner-up in 1939. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Polish teenager Iga Swiatek recovered from a nervy start to outclass Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 and move into the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old, who thrashed Romania’s top seed Simona Halep on Sunday to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final, looked tight as she trailed 3-1 after a long wait to get on court but then took charge with some aggressive hitting.

She is the first Polish woman to reach the French Open semi-finals since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska was runner-up in 1939.

She will meet Argentine Nadia Podoroska, who became the first qualifier to reach the French Open semi-finals when she downed Ukrainian third seed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4 in the first semi-final on Tuesday.

Former Wimbledon junior champion Swiatek won eight games in a row to move within three games of victory before tricky left-hander Trevisan stopped the rot with a break of serve.

However, a crushing forehand winner by Swiatek in the following game resumed the onslaught and she romped to her fifth straight-sets victory in a row on the Paris clay.

“It was pretty hard at the beginning because it was hard to get used to the conditions, and also I played all my other matches at 11am so it was like playing in the middle of the night,” she said on Court Philippe Chatrier.

“But I’m pretty happy with my performance.”

Swiatek has a free-flowing game but initially it was 159th-ranked Trevisan, who knocked out American sensation Coco Gauff, 20th seed Maria Sakkari and fifth seed Kiki Bertens on her run to the last eight, who settled quickest.

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IPL 2020

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