After eight drama-filled days at Roland Garros, half of the spots have been filled for the 2014 French Open's quarterfinals.
There have been plenty of highs and lows of late, as Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova continue to steamroll opponents, while former champion Roger Federer was eliminated in an upset victory by Ernests Gulbis.
Expect more of that to continue on Day 9 when more of the world's top stars take the court in hopes of filling the final vacant quarterfinal spots.
As the remaining top-seeded women attempt to keep pace with Sharapova, and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal looks to continue his dominance on clay, the saga at Roland Garros will only continue to intensify.
To ensure not a single serve is missed, let's look at the full television schedule for Monday and overview the forthcoming action.
French Open Day 9 Schedule
|Coverage (ET)||TV Info||Live Stream|
|5 a.m. - 10 a.m.||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|10 a.m. - 7 p.m.||Tennis Channel||Tennis Channel Plus|
French Open Day 9 Outlook
2013 Men's Final Rematch in Store?
Both Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer return to action at Roland Garros on Monday. Each player is coming off a decisive victory, and should both earn one more match win, they will face each other in the quarterfinals—providing us with a rematch of the 2013 French Open final.
ESPNTennis noted this immediately after the draw:
Possible quarterfinal match between Nadal and Ferrer would be re-match of 2013 final. #RG14— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) May 23, 2014
Last year, Nadal emerged victorious in a big way over Ferrer, defeating him in three sets. However, Ferrer has played extremely well this season. At the Monte-Carlo Masters, Ferrer defeated Nadal in the quarterfinals in two sets on clay.
Could he pull off another upset at Roland Garros?
Well, before we can answer that question, both must get past their Round 4 opponents.
Nadal is set to face Dusan Lajovic, and Ferrer will square off against No. 19 Kevin Anderson. Both should be highly contested matches; although, Nadal and Ferrer come in as heavy favorites.
SportsCenter gave 31 reasons why Nadal continues to be a big favorite:
Rafael Nadal advances in straight sets at French Open, 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. He's won 31 straight matches at Roland Garros. pic.twitter.com/1jv8mLVmVe— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 31, 2014
Although, one thing to keep an eye on is Nadal's ailing back.
After his Round 3 victory over Leonardo Mayer, Nadal spoke of adjustments he had to make due to his injury during a press conference with ESPN.com news services.
Said Nadal, "During my career, I had (a) few problems. … Hopefully will not be (the) case [the rest of the way in Paris]. I served more slowly since I started feeling the pain."
Could this injury lead to another early exit for Nadal? We'll soon find out.
Clash of Top-Seeded Women
The women's bracket has been tremendously shaken up through eight days at Roland Garros.
Starting with the early departure of No. 1 Serena Williams, many of the tournament's top players are no longer competing in Paris.
No. 2 Na Li, No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 5 Petra Kvitova and most recently No. 8 Angelique Kerber have all been eliminated from contention.
On Monday, the top two remaining seeds—No. 4 Simona Halep and No. 6 Jelena Jankovic—will attempt to avoid becoming victims of the ongoing upsets at Roland Garros.
Halep is on a tear right now, reaching the round of 16 at Roland Garros for the first time, according to a tweet from WTA:
However, each will have their hands full.
Halep is set to face No. 15 Sloane Stephens, and Jankovic will take on No. 10 Sara Errani. All four of these athletes won their last matches in consecutive sets and appear to be in great form entering Round 4.
Gaining momentum and confidence is at an all-time premium right now due to the way Maria Sharapova has been playing.
The No. 7 seed rebounded nicely after losing her first set to No. 19 Samantha Stosur on Sunday, taking the match in three sets.
Sharapova's comeback after an early scare against Stosur may even provide more confidence for an already brash player. After all, Sharapova has already made it known she believes she is the favorite in Paris, according to a tweet from Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times:
"There's no reason why I shouldn't be the favorite of this tournament." -Maria Sharapova. #RG14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 30, 2014
So, which of Monday's competitors will separate from the pack and look to become the biggest threat to Sharapova's title run?
A case can be made for any of the aforementioned players; however, if there's one thing we learned this year at the French Open, it's that fierce competition can come from anyone in the field.