We have reached the sharp end of the 2021 French Open and while a number of high-profile names have already exited the women’s draw, the usual suspects are gathering in the men’s competition.
The quarter-finals will reach a conclusion on Wednesday and, for all the remaining players in both the women’s and men’s draw, there will be a belief they can go all the way and claim Grand Slam glory at Roland Garros.
Swiatek’s Tournament to Lose
It has been a tournament of surprises in the women’s draw this year, with only one of the top-16 seeded players making it through to the quarter-finals in Paris – defending champion Iga Swiatek.
The Pole is establishing herself as the leading force on clay in the women’s game and she is bidding to become the first female since Justine Henin-Hardenne in 2006 to defend her title.
Unlike so many of the top seeds in the draw, Swiatek has made lightwork of all her opponents and she is yet to drop a set at the tournament heading into her quarter-final clash with 17th seed Maria Sakkari.
Sakkari is the highest-ranked player other than Swiatek left in the tournament, but it is difficult to see the Greek laying a glove on the defending champion, with either Coco Gauff or Barbora Krejcíkova awaiting the winner in the semi-finals.
Nadal Must be Ready for Stern Schwartzman Test
Defending champion Rafael Nadal remains on course to win a record-extending 14th French Open title and he is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament despite being below his best against Italian teenager Jannik Sinner in round four.
The Spaniard will certainly have to up his game when he faces Diego Schwartzman in the last eight on Wednesday in what will be a repeat of the semi-final clash between the two men at Roland Garros from last year.
Nadal won that encounter in straight sets and his overall record against Schwartzman is impressive, as he has triumphed in 10 of their 11 previous meetings, although the Argentine’s sole success did come on clay at the 2020 Rome Masters.
Schwartzman is certainly capable of causing Nadal some problems on his favourite surface and he may even take a set off his illustrious opponent, which could make backing Nadal to win 3-1 at
11/4 a tempting option.
Djokovic Should Have Too Much for Refreshed Berrettini
If Nadal does make it through to the last four then he could face old rival Novak Djokovic for a place in the final, as the top seed will also be in quarter-final action on Wednesday when he takes on Matteo Berrettini.
Djokovic nearly did not even make it through to the quarter-finals, as he was two sets down in the fourth round to teenager Lorenzo Musetti before turning things around, with his Italian opponent ultimately retiring during the fifth set.
Now another Italian stands in the way of the 18-time Grand Slam winner, with ninth-seed Berrettini aiming to reach a second Grand Slam semi-final.
The 25-year-old should come into the match refreshed, as he received a bye into the last eight after fourth-round opponent Roger Federer withdrew due to his ongoing knee issues.
That could ultimately help Berrettini if the match goes the distance, but Djokovic did win their only previous meeting at the 2019 ATP Finals in straight sets and he can be backed to win 3-0 on Wednesday at
*All odds correct at time of writing.