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SPORTS

No Marathons as Swiatek, Gauff Sprint into French Open Quarterfinals. Alcaraz, Tsitsipas Also Win

PARIS  — After the French Open marathon came the sprints.

Defending champion Iga Swiatek swept into the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in just 40 minutes after a crushing 6-0, 6-0 win against Anastasia Potapova.

U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff took only 60 minutes to rout unseeded Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1, 6-2.

The 20-year-old American looked set for an even quicker victory when she led 5-0, but Cocciaretto fought back, getting a hearty cheer from the crowd after winning the next game.

Swiatek won 48-10 in points without even facing a game point against her. The match ended when Potapova hit a forehand into the net on the first match point.

“I was just really focused and in the zone,” Swiatek said. “It went pretty quickly, pretty weird.”

Their match started at around 11 a.m. on Court Philippe Chatrier.

That’s just eight hours after men’s defending champion Novak Djokovic finished his five-set, 4 1/2-hour marathon against Lorenzo Musetti at just after 3 a.m. in the latest finish in tournament history.

Swiatek said late finishes don’t just end with the match and are not healthy.

“Usually it takes us, like, four hours to even chill, and you need to do recovery, media. It’s not like the work ends when the match point,” she said. “I was always one of the players that said that we should start a little bit earlier.”

Gauff thinks the issue needs addressing.

“It’s a complicated thing,” she said. “But I definitely think for the health and safety of the players it would be in the sport’s best interest to try to avoid those matches finishing, or starting, after a certain time.”

Poland’s Iga Swiatek celebrates after defeating Russia’s Anastasia Potapova during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Gauff says there’s also a fine balance to be struck.

“Obviously I don’t want to complain too much about it because we are very blessed and privileged to be playing for a lot of money. There’s people working real jobs under worse conditions for less money and just trying to get by,” she said. “It’s just tough for me knowing where some of my family come from and where things are, and I think about the people hearing this. Yes, if I was a person working, I would be upset to hear, you know, players complain.”

Potapova attributed her crushing defeat to the constant rain delays in recent days sapping her energy.

“Unfortunately in the last couple of days I started feeling not well, eating not well. Last night I did not get an hour of sleep. It’s very tough to be honest. Especially when you want to play good you have to try to keep everything inside,” she said. “But unfortunately if you keep it inside it doesn’t go away, it just keeps growing. The stress inside my body kept growing and unfortunately today was the day when it exploded.”

Saturday didn’t help much.

“Yesterday I spent all day on site because I had doubles. We came at 9:00 (a.m.) and at 7:00 pm it got (postponed). I spent all day here without hitting a ball,” she said. “That’s not the preparation for the fourth round of a grand slam against the world number one.”

Swiatek remains on course for her third consecutive French Open title and fourth overall. The top-ranked Pole plays Wimbleon champion Marketa Vondrousova after the fifth-seeded Czech beat unseeded Serb Olga Danilovic 6-4, 6-2.

Gauff faces No. 8-seeded Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who advanced to her second straight French Open quarterfinal after beating unseeded Dane Clara Tauson 6-4, 6-4.

In men’s fourth-round play, two-time Grand Slam winner Carlos Alcaraz and 2021 French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to set up a quarterfinal showdown.

The third-seeded Alcaraz beat No. 21-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

Auger-Aliassime appeared to struggle with his left leg and called a trainer at the changeover at 3-2 down in the second set, then left the court for a medical timeout.

Tsitsipas beat unseeded Italian Matteo Arnaldi 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-2 and the ninth-seeded Greek celebrated enthusiastically with the Court Suzanne Lenglen crowd.

“Now me and the crowd are on this, so it felt amazing,” said Tsitsipas, who saved a set point at 5-4 down in the second set. “I felt there was power within me to turn this game around.”

What about playing Alcaraz?

“He has said in the past that he likes to play against me,” Tsitsipas said. “I hope he likes it a little bit less.”

Later Sunday, Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner faced Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

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