I was expecting a bit of a longer night of it when Tsitsipas and Medvedev took to the court last night. Even though Stefanos is a better clay-court player, the head-to-head (6-1 Medvedev) and the Russians form so far in Paris looked to be a bit of a leveller. It wasn’t. It took him a set and a half to really get into that match and when he did he was a little more erratic than normal. He usually plays the big points so well but he just couldn’t really front-run here and that was always going to put him up against it. It was closer than straight sets I would say and the scoreboard doesn’t really tell the story but Daniil was always second best. Even trying to catch his opponent on match point down with an underarm serve didn’t work. It is another big step for Stefanos and it may prove crucial that he hasn’t wasted too much time on court with the potential matches coming up.
Alexander Zverev will be his semi-final opponent. The German had earlier taken out Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Sascha had gone an early breakdown but immediately broke back and never looked back after taking the first set 6/4. The Spaniard had come into the match suffering from a back problem. Despite the first set not being of the highest quality, Zverev really stepped it up in sets two and three. It has been quite impressive from him in the last couple of rounds and more importantly I could celebrate a quarter winner from my tipping review. Tsitsipas will go into their semi-final around the 1/2-4/9 mark and has the head-to-head 5-2 as it stands.
Talking of my RG Preview blog, it was a big day in the women’s. First up I had Paula Badosa who played Tamara Zidansek. The nerves were noticeable during this and the momentum swung one way then another. Badosa looked the edgier and found herself a set and 4/2 down. She managed to lead by a break in the decider but you knew there was a lot to play out. Serving first looked more crucial than ever in the decider and it was Badosa who folded in the fourteenth game when serving to stay in it. I think this is a loss she will certainly learn from, the pressure and media questions about her chances in Paris have finally got the better of her in the end if you ask me.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on the other hand has been there and got the t-shirt in quarter-finals but it does look a different Pavy mentally these days. I tipped her up at 25/1 for the quarter and she has obliged to make her first semi-final. The matchup against doubles partner Elena Rybakina was all about who would get the first heavy blow in early in the rally. These are the sort of matches you would normally have expected Pavy to let slip out of her grasp but not now. I think what pleased me most about this performance was the way she was serving. Especially as the match went to a long final set. On this occasion, she was serving first (unlike Badosa) and she kept applying the pressure to her opponent until Rybakina buckled serving at 7/8. A former junior number one, we knew that she has always had it in her. Personally, I would like to see her make the final now. I think her hard work deserves it. She has never played Zidansek before and the current markets have her as a 4/7 jolly across the board.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).