We have come to the point in the French Open where the quarterfinals have now been set. But what tennis superstars are still alive after nine days of tennis at Roland Garros?
So far, the women's side of the draw has seen many upsets—minor and major—but as for the men, they have played out pretty close to expectations.
It is in these next three rounds where the real tests of the tournament should begin. This is the time for the superstars to shine and bring their best games. These last few days of the French Open are going to bring lots of excitement for tennis fans, especially with many superstars still holding strong.
So without holding off any longer, let us update you on the current situation of tennis' best players at the 2012 French Open.
It has not been the prettiest tennis that Roger Federer has played at Roland Garros, but the main thing is he won and made it through into the quarterfinals.
After losing the first set in his last match to David Goffin, Federer points out the reason why it is always a different game come the latter parts of a tournament to Kamakshi Tandon of ESPN:
"When you're the favourite, you end up thinking you are going to win, but you don't exactly know how you're going to win," Federer said. "I have played guys I've almost never heard about and I don't know their patterns, and it's made things difficult for me.”
Although he may not have been at his best leading up to his quarterfinal match against Juan Martin Del Potro—the ninth seed in the tournament—expect this game to be very different for Federer. He has had great success against Del Potro this season, not losing a set en route to a 4-0 record against the Argentinian.
Talk about getting the luck of the draw. Stosur finds herself in a great spot to advance into the finals of the French Open. The Australian is used to being in this position too, however, as she made it to the finals of the French Open two years ago in 2010.
Even though she has made it convincingly to the quarterfinals, Stosur is trying to keep a level head about where she is at—she tells Valkerie Baynes of The Courier-Mail (via Perth Now):
"It's quarter-finals, there's still a long way to go and favourites don't really mean anything as we've seen today (with Azarenka) and in the first round with Serena," Stosur said.
With the luck of having the top seed, Victoria Azarenka (who would have been Stosur's opponent had she advanced) was knocked out in the round of 16 and instead gets to play 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
If she can pull off the win in that match, her semifinal opponent will be either a tenth seed or a 21st seed—all higher than her own sixth seed placement.
With so much talk at this year's French Open being directed to Rafael Nadal, some are beginning to forget that Djokovic is still the number one seed.
Also, let's not forget that he is the current holder of the three other Majors, and a French Open win will mean holding all four at the same time.
According to former world No. 1 Mats Wilander, that is now just as impressive as doing it all in the same calender year—he tells Darren Walton of the Australian Associated Press (via The Sydney Morning Herald):
"It doesn't matter. It doesn't make any difference (if it's the same year)... Four in a row is what matters really," Wilander said.
While winning all four at the same time is astonishing and all, Djokovic has to first make sure he gets into the semi's. After a tough last match, Djokovic tells Simon Briggs of The Telegraph just how bad of a game he played:
"It was one of those days where nothing is working. I wasn't managing to get into the rhythm. I had flashes, positive flashes where I was winning games in a row, and I felt that I actually can hit it. But most of the match I was defensive,” said Djokovic.
He will play top French player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarters and must expect that to be a tough match, considering all the home town support the Frenchman will be receiving.
Sharapova has quickly become the top seed in the tournament with the outing of Victoria Azarenka, and seems to be earning it with her play. Although in her recent match she struggled at times, especially with her serve, she realizes that this far into the tournament, all that counts is the win. She told The Sports Network (via Fox News):
"It was a good test for me," Sharapova said. "I had chances to finish in two sets and didn't but I came out strong in the third set. I guess that's really what matters and it's nice to be in the quarters again."
What is good to see out of Sharapova is her ability to come out of a bad set and turn it around quickly. That should benefit her as the tournament progresses to stiffer competition. Her ability to get out of tough spots during a game will make it hard to stop her en route to the finals.
With her side of the draw receiving little favours—she has to play the player who knocked out ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki—Sharapova has to make sure to get by her next quarterfinal match with relative ease.
Once through to the semi's, her toughest match will be no doubt against fourth seed Petra Kvitova.
Rafa has wasted no time in getting himself off the court and getting ready for his next match in his pursuit of his 7th title at the French Open—which will make him the winningest French Open player ever, ahead of Bjorn Borg.
So far in his four matches leading up to the quarterfinals, he has yet to give up a set to his opponents, blanking them on numerous occasions. If that is not clay court dominance, then I do not know what is. However, even with the play Nadal is showing, he does not want to get over-confident. He told Howard Fendrich of The Associated Press (via The Miami Herald):
"When you reach quarterfinals with my results, that's always something positive, that's true. ... I have won quite easily. My results are good," Nadal said. "But I'm not going to go through immediately (to) the semifinals."
As for his next match, Nadal will face Nicolas Almagro of Spain. Almagro just came off winning a minor upset 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 against the eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic—Almagro is the tournament's 12th seed.