2021 French Open: Week One Highlights
2019 Citi Open SF's Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev Set Blockbuster Quarterfinal Clash on Tuesday
Citi Open Doubles Champ Coco Gauff Advances to Quarters & Clinches Fourth and Final Olympic Spot
Two-time Citi Open semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas is the hottest player on tour. (Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour)
It was a busy week of tennis in Paris, where the 2021 French Open Championships reach the mid-point of competition today.
After an uncertain start to the season in Australia, players and officials were thrilled to see the return of limited fans to the tournament's signature stadiums at Roland Garros. Two-time Citi Open semifinalist and current world No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of several Citi Open and DC stars feeding off the energy that signals the highly-anticipated global return of pro tennis.
While 20-time major champion Rafael Nadal aims to win his 14th French Open championship and break Roger Federer's all-time Grand Slam title record in the top half of the men's singles draw, Tsitsipas looks to reach his first major final in the bottom half.
The 22-year-old Athens native notably beat former American No. 1 and three-time Citi Open finalist John Isner, 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-1, in the third round, and scored a straight-sets victory over clay-court specialist and No. 12 seed Pablo Carreño Busta, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, to set up a blockbuster quarterfinal clash with 2019 Citi Open finalist and current world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday.
"My performance was good," said Tsitsipas, after his win over Carreño Busta on Sunday. "I was very mentally there in every single game. Whether I was serving or not, I was very concentrated in the procedure, in the process."
Tsitsipas is currently the hottest player on tour and leads the FedEx ATP Race To Turin with a 37-8 winning record this season, 20 of those victories coming on clay. After claiming his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters earlier this spring, he lifted another trophy in Lyon and earned a match point against Nadal in the final of Barcelona.
2019 Citi Open Finalist Daniil Medvedev looks to win his first major title in Paris. (Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour)
For his part, Medvedev routinely dispatched No. 22 seed Cristian Garin, 6-2, 6-1, 7-5, on Sunday to reach the final eight at Roland Garros for the first time. The 25-year-old Russian arrived in Paris with a lackluster, 0-4, losing record on clay this season, but now is a contender to win his first major title and take over the world No. 1 ranking.
A two-time Grand Slam finalist, Medvedev dropped his single set en route to the quarterfinals to 2020 Washington Kastles player and current world No. 52 Tommy Paul, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3, in a competitive second-round contest.
Paul, a familiar face at the Citi Open, won over DC tennis fans in 2017, when he made an inspired run to the quarterfinals in his tournament debut, eventually losing to former Citi Open champ Kei Nishikori in a three-set heartbreaker. He also was the men's singles star for the Washington Kastles at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia last summer.
Up next, Medvedev will face Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. The Russian leads the Greek, 6-1, in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a straight-sets win in the semis of the Australian Open earlier this year.
At 22 years and 305 days, Tsitsipas is bidding to become the youngest Grand Slam men’s singles champion, since former Citi Open champ Juan Martin del Potro won the 2009 US Open at the age of 20 years and 355 days.
At 25 years of age, Medvedev is within striking distance of the world No. 1 ranking. If the Russian lifts the Coupe des Mousquetaires, he would claim the top spot. He could also clinch it by reaching the final, if current No. 1 Novak Djokovic loses before the championship match in the other half of the draw.
American Teen Sensation Coco Gauff Advances to Quarterfinals & Clinches Fourth and Final Olympic Spot!
On the women’s side, defending Citi Open doubles champion and current world No. 25 Coco Gauff breezed past Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, 6-3, 6-1, to reach her first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal today.
"It means a lot to me," Gauff told the media in her post-match press conference. "I have lost in the fourth round a couple times so it feels good to get over that hurdle. Today, I played probably my best match so far in the tournament."
No. 24 seed Gauff, at 17 years and 86 days old, is the youngest player to make a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Nicole Vaidisova reached the last eight at the 2006 French Open.
Gauff is also the youngest American to reach the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam since Kastles superstar and former world No. 1 Venus Williams charged to the 1997 US Open final and is the youngest American to go this deep at Roland Garros since Jennifer Capriati reached the 1993 quarterfinals in Paris.
With the win, Gauff also clinched the fourth and final U.S. Olympic women’s singles spot. The 17-year-old Atlanta native qualified for the Tokyo games after compatriot, former Kastles star, and 2015 Citi Open champion Sloane Stephens lost in the fourth round of competition to Barbora Krejcíková, 6-2, 6-0.
"I just feel like this has been the most consistent tennis I have played at this level," said Gauff. "Hopefully, I can keep that going."
Gauff advanced to the fourth round after Kastles alum and recent Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady had to retire, due to a foot injury after losing the first set of their clash 6-1, on Sunday.
Brady won their previous encounter in last year's Lexington semifinals, but Gauff has been on the rise this season. The 17-year-old star arrived in Paris following a superb clay-court season, winning her second career WTA singles title, as well as the doubles title with Caty McNally, in Parma and reaching the semis in Rome.
Next up, Gauff faces Krejcikova, who is also a first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, on Tuesday.