Upsets have been a common theme at the 2014 French Open with big-name stars like Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Serena Williams and Li Na being eliminated in the first couple rounds of the tournament at Roland Garros.
While that trend did not continue on Day 9 in Paris, there were still plenty of notable results during the fourth round of competition.
Here are the results from Day 9 followed by a closer examination of the most notable outcomes.
|No. 5 David Ferrer def. No. 19 Kevin Anderson||6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1|
|No. 1 Rafael Nadal def. Dusan Lajovic||6-1, 6-2, 6-1|
|No. 7 Andy Murray, def. No. 24 Fernando Verdasco||6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3)|
|No. 23 Gael Monfils def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez||6-0, 6-2, 7-5|
|No. 28 Andrea Petkovic def. Kiki Bertens||1-6, 6-2, 7-5|
|No. 10 Sara Errani def. No. 6 Jelena Jankovic||7-6 (7-5), 6-2|
|No. 4 Simona Halep def. No. 15 Sloane Stephens||6-4, 6-3|
|No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova def. No. 23 Lucie Safarova||6-3, 6-4|
Rafael Nadal (1) def. Dusan Lajovic: 6-1, 6-2, 6-1
Nadal didn’t waste any time in his disposing of Lajovic. The eight-time French Open champion and world No. 1 lost just four games in a match that lasted a mere 93 minutes.
Lajovic, the 83rd-ranked player in the world, had never reached the fourth round of any major tournament and was overwhelmed by Nadal’s speed and power from the start.
Nadal has dropped just 23 games through four matches. However, the Spaniard has yet to face elite competition—none of his opponents has ranked higher than 57th.
Who will win the Nadal-Ferrer match?
Nadal doesn’t know if he is playing his best tennis of the season right now, which is a scary thought for future opponents, per Naila-Jean Meyers of The New York Times:
"I don’t know. All I know is that the clay season has seen me progressing this year, and I think each tournament is an opportunity for me to improve my tennis. That’s a reality. Now, how far can I go? I don’t know."
Next up is compatriot and fifth-seeded David Ferrer in the quarterfinal, which will mark the first time Nadal will face a seeded player in the tournament.
David Ferrer (5) def. Kevin Anderson (19): 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1
Ferrer ousted Anderson by using his powerful returns and impressive court speed to combat the South African’s big serve. With the victory, the Spaniard reached his 10th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal and earned a French Open rematch with Nadal.
In an interview with RolandGarros.com's Dan Imhoff, Ferrer praised his opponent and looked forward to the challenge of facing Nadal once again:
It was really tough, no? Kevin played a really good match. When I won the two sets it was really tough. I’m happy I’m in quarter-final here in Paris. I try always for revenge of Rafael. He beat me many times, more times than I beat him.
Ferrer has lost 21 of 27 career matches against Nadal—including last year’s French Open final in straight sets. However, Ferrer has won two of their last three matches.
It will take a monumental effort from Ferrer to pull the upset with the way Nadal is playing on his favorite court.. His showing against Anderson proved he's playing well right now, especially the way he bounced back in the fourth set to finish off his opponent after a tough third-set loss.
Simona Halep (4) def. Sloane Stephens (15): 6-4, 6-3
Simona Halep, the highest remaining seed in the draw, ousted American Sloan Stephens in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
With the top three seeds falling earlier in the tournament, the Romanian has a great opportunity to advance past the quarterfinal round for the first time in any major tournament and capture her first Grand Slam title.
Halep expressed her excitement in an interview with Imhoff:
I’m really happy I’m in quarterfinals for the first time in my life here because I love Paris … I have a lot of confidence in myself. Day by day I play better. Here in the French Open I like the clay and feel very well. Here I don’t want to stop in the quarter-finals. I want to go far, so I have to be ready again.
The 22-year-old Halep has made a remarkable climb up the world tennis rankings, jumping from No. 57 to No. 4 in one calendar year. Notable 2014 tournament results include taking a set on Maria Sharapova in the final of the WTA Mutua Madrid Open, winning the WTA Qatar Total Open and reaching the quarterfinal of the Australian Open.
Halep will have to play in top form once against Kuznetsova—who won the French Open in 2009. If she does, she has a legitimate shot to win her first major.
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