World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas bit the dust at the Roland Garros clay courts, losing to Marin Cilic and Holger Rune respectively in the pre-quarterfinals of the second Grand Slam of the season here.
A red-hot Marin Cilic of Croatia powered into the French Open quarterfinal with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Medvedev on Court Phillippe Chatrier, leaving the Russian’s hopes of becoming world No. 1 at the end of the clay-court major in tatters. Cilic will face another Russian, Andrey Rublev, for a place in the semifinal.
“It was an absolutely fantastic match from the first point to the last,” Cilic was quoted as saying by atptour.com. “I enjoyed the atmosphere, enjoyed the night session here. I played incredible tennis – one of the best matches of my career from start to finish.”
The 33-year-old is through to his third Roland Garros quarterfinal (2017-18) and his first Grand Slam quarterfinal since he reached that stage in three of the four majors in 2018, including the Australian Open final.
Cilic’s win over Medvedev was as one-sided as it gets, with the Croat breaking in the sixth game of the first two sets before racing out a 4-0 advantage in the third.
Cilic next faces seventh seed Rublev, who moved past Jannik Sinner of Italy earlier on Monday when the Italian retired in the third set of their match. Cilic will be seeking his first Roland Garros semifinal.
The 2005 Roland Garros boys’ singles champion had famously won the 2014 US Open title by upsetting Swiss master Roger Federer in the semis and storming past Kei Nishikori in the final. Cilic lost to the Swiss legend in the 2017 Wimbledon title match and the 2018 Australian Open final.
Meanwhile 19-year-old Holger Rune became the first Dane to reach the quarterfinals at a major in the Open Era, defeating world No. 4 Greece’s Stefanso Tsitsipas 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Rune earned just his second top-5 win at Roland Garros shocking the Greek player in three hours.
“I have an unbelievable feeling right now,” Rune said. “I was so nervous at the end but the crowd was amazing for me the whole match, the whole tournament. I am so grateful and so happy to be playing on this court. You guys are amazing.
“I was very nervous but I know at the same time that if I go away from my tactics against a player like Tsitsipas I am going to lose for sure. I told myself just to keep at it and play my plan in the tough moments. It worked out so well in the end and gave me a huge confidence boost. It is just so great to still be here.”
Rune is making his debut in Paris and has produced a string of fine performances so far. Prior to his standout win over 2021 finalist Tsitsipas, the Dane had eliminated Denis Shapovalov, Henri Laaksonen and Hugo Gaston in straight sets.
(Inputs from IANS)