French Open 2020: Collins v Kenin, Kvitova into semi-finals and more – live!

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Kenin holds with ease and is looking good for the first set at 4-2. Collins, in contrast, appears uncomfortable. Because of the rain-affected schedule, Collins is short on rest, having also had to play yesterday. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis last year but after a Novak Djokovic-style change to her diet – no gluten, no dairy – she says she’s feeling healthy. Collins is in danger of going a double break down when Kenin clambers to advantage, but a second ace from Collins followed by a forehand winner avert the danger. Kenin leads 4-3.

It’s been quite some turnaround for both players at Roland Garros. Kenin suffered a double-bagel loss to Victoria Azarenka in Rome only three weeks ago, while Collins entered the tournament on a three-match losing streak and hadn’t played a single match on clay this season. Kenin holds to 30, and her squash-shot style defence gets her to 0-30 on Collins’s serve. Another errant shot from Collins and it’s 0-40. Kenin has three break points to add to the one she had in Collins’s last service game. And Collins hands her American rival the break with a double fault. Cue an apology on TV about Collins’s language. Kenin strikes first. She’s 3-2 up with the break.

Now it’s Kenin’s turn to apply some pressure on her opponent’s serve. 0-30. Kenin can’t capitalise and it’s 30-all, as a smattering of spectators – their numbers diminished not only because of Covid rules but also because it’s lunchtime – watch on. The Parisians seems to be favouring food over this encounter. Four deuces and one break point follow – Collins is the aggressor here and Kenin is doing plenty of defending – and eventually Collins holds. The highlight was a beautiful backhand winner from Collins on the break point. Collins is 2-1 up on serve.

This is an intriguing match-up: Kenin has the greater grand slam pedigree but Collins dominates the head-to-head. While Kenin is the tougher competitor, Collins is the harder hitter. Collins makes the more comfortable start here, holding to love before forcing Kenin to deuce. It’s 1-1.

Next up it’s the all-American affair between Danielle Collins and Sofia Kenin, this year’s Australian Open champion. If Kenin is to set up a semi-final against Kvitova she’ll have to do something she’s never done before – win a set against Collins. They’ve played three times before, twice in 2017 on the ITF circuit and then earlier this year in Adelaide when Collins blasted her off the court. Kenin hasn’t won more than seven games in any of their previous meetings.

It means a lot to me. In my last match I got a bit emotional when I won. I’m really happy to be in the semi-final after everything. Right now it’s my lucky place. I’m really happy I’m still able to play and compete with the best.

An even scoreline but a slightly uneven match, given how Kvitova cruised in the first set and was pushed in the second. But Kvitova rose to the challenge and still hasn’t dropped a set this tournament. Her game has developed so much on the clay and she’s very much in the title reckoning.

Kvitova has done such a good job of consistently incorporating her variety into her game over the past couple of years. That last break was lovely – two volley winners and she drew out an error after changing the pace with a short, low slice.

Siegemund, serving at 15-all, loops long. She looks as if she knows the end is coming. 15-30. A backhand winner from Kvitova brings up two match points at 15-40. Kvitova miscues a forehand which is well out, 30-40. Siegemund nets her first serve, attempts to steady herself for her second … but it clatters the net and slumps back on to her side of the court. The match ends with a double fault. Kvitova is through to her second Roland Garros semi-final, eight years after her first, and she’ll face the winner of the next match between Sofia Kenin and Danielle Collins.

Last time Siegemund broke Kvitova she was broken straight back. And the script is exactly the same here. 0-15, 0-30, 0-40, game, as Kvitova steps forward with a dismissive volley. Kvitova decides she’s had enough of messing around in this second set, and there’s another love game. Eight straight points from Kvitova and she’s a game away from her second French Open semi-final, leading 6-3, 5-3.

Siegemund receives treatment for a back injury. When they’re back under way, she does not seem at all impeded as she strikes a superb cross-court backhand winner for 15-30 on Kvitova’s serve. 30-all. 30-40. And that’s from 30-0. After such a tidy first set, this second set has been messy from Kvitova. A return winner from Siegemund and that’s the third consecutive break. It’s 3-3.

Maybe it’s not game on because straight away Siegemund slides 0-40 down on serve. But she isn’t giving up. It’s soon 15-40, 30-40, deuce, when the German mixes up the play and throws in a moon ball. The first moment of controversy when Siegemund is pulled up by the umpire for going over the shot clock, but she had already started her service motion. A harsh call. Siegemund, perhaps distracted, concedes the break from there. Kvitova is up 6-3, 3-2. And now Siegemund is calling for the trainer.

Well, well. There’s a glimmer for Siegemund here as Kvitova double faults for 30-all. Kvitova’s first-serve percentage has dropped quite a bit. And the glimmer becomes a great opportunity for Siegemund when Kvitova doubles again. 30-40. Kvitova rallies to deuce but slides awkwardly to Siegemund’s drop shot – Kvitova is not a natural slider on the clay – and here’s a second break point. Again the danger is averted. Deuce. But again Kvitova’s serve lets her down as Siegemund lays siege to her opponent’s weak second serve. Break point No 3. Deuce. Break point No 4. Jeu Siegemund! Jeu sur! They’re back on serve at 2-2.

So nice to see @Petra_Kvitova playing well on the red clay, coming to the net at every opportunity: reminds me of @Martina … @BrettHaber

This is looking effortless from Kvitova. Conceding only one point in her service game, she moves 2-0 ahead, winning her third consecutive game for the second time in this match. Siegemund does, though, have something to smile about in the next game when she outwits Kvitova after the pair trade drop shots, before putting away a rare volley. The German holds to 15 but it’s Kvitova who’s ahead by a set and a break, 6-3, 2-1.

Kvitova is now playing in the shadows on Chatrier, but only literally, certainly not metaphorically, because she charges to three break points in the opening game of the second set. Siegemund’s shot slumps into the net on the second break point and Kvitova seizes the game to 15. One break was enough in the first set, will the second play out the same? Kvitova leads 6-3, 1-0.

Siegemund runs off court and returns clutching a banana. No noodles in sight. Meanwhile if you’d like to catch up on yesterday’s action and news, you can do so here:

Siegemund impressively holds to love, so will at least get to ask Kvitova a question as the Czech steps up to serve for a set to love lead. At 15-all, with Siegemund in the shadows and Kvitova in full sun, the pair play out a passive, prolonged point, and Siegemund slices into the net. 30-15. A sixth ace brings up 40-15, two set points. Kvitova has been serving so smoothly today. And Kvitova clobbers a winner to close it out.

Annabel Croft mentions on the Eurosport commentary that Kvitova interestingly hasn’t been practising on her days off, but she’s still been coming to Roland Garros every day just to have lunch. When you’re in a Covid-enforced bubble, getting out for some food probably is the highlight of your day. Speaking of eating … there’s no sign yet of Siegemund asking her team for a takeaway, as she did during her last-16 win against Paula Badosa. She was munching on what looked like noodles between games, though she assured the umpire afterwards it was not a Chinese takeaway. But I digress. A hold apiece and Siegemund, at 5-2 down, is serving to stay in the first set.

Kvitova comes through her toughest examination yet on serve, holding from deuce to back up the break. There may only be one break between them but the gap seems bigger. Kvitova, looking calm and focused, pumps her fist with a quiet determination on her way back to her chair. The two-times former Wimbledon champion leads 4-1.

Kvitova is off to a confident start, with two love holds. She leads 2-1 and is already pushing and probing on Siegemund’s serve. It’s 15-40, two break points. Kvitova, usually an all-or-nothing player who goes for broke, has been far more disciplined at this tournament in the slow, damp conditions. Unable to simply hit through opponents, she’s been staying patient and mixing things up, and she helpfully illustrates that point here by staying in the rally and waiting for the Siegemund error. Kvitova breaks for 3-1.

Siegemund is appearing in her first major quarter-final at the age of 32, while this is Kvitova’s 13th. Siegemund, ranked 66 in the world, was derailed by a serious knee injury a few years ago – which perhaps explains why she’s not only wearing leggings but knee-high socks for today’s encounter, despite the slightly warmer conditions. Kvitova’s career, of course, also stalled after that knife attack in her home in 2016. She was so emotional on Monday after her win in the fourth round, as she remembered making her comeback at Roland Garros in 2017. It’s great to see her playing so well and she’d be a hugely popular champion.

Sacré bleu! Petra Kvitova and Laura Siegemund have stepped on to court in sunshine. The high today is a balmy 17 degrees, with only a small chance of rain. It’s still breezy, but not nearly as bad as it was yesterday.

While chaos has ripped through the women’s draw with as much ferocity as the autumn wind at Roland Garros, two unstoppable forces of nature remain on the men’s side. After Rafa Nadal reached the semi-finals for a record-extending 13th time by overcoming the challenge of the Italian teenager Jannik Sinner at 1.26am this morning in the tournament’s latest ever finish, today Novak Djokovic bids to join him in the last four.

This is the 11th consecutive year Djokovic has appeared in the quarter-finals – a record even Nadal can’t match. It seems tough on Djokovic that his return on that is only one title compared to his rival’s 12, but such is Nadal’s imperiousness on the Paris clay. Many, however, would give Djokovic the slight edge if they do meet in Sunday’s final; the world No 1 is unbeaten in 35 completed matches this year, his only loss coming when he was infamously disqualified at the US Open last month against Pablo Carreno Busta. In a quirk of the draw, Djokovic faces the same opponent today.

That match ends the day 11 schedule on Philippe Chatrier, after the battle between the 22-year-old talents Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, with the women’s matches taking place first. Petra Kvitova and Sofia Kenin will be fancied to book a semi-final against each other – Kvitova plays the unseeded German Laura Siegemund and Kenin, the Australian Open champion, has an all-American meeting with Danielle Collins – but making predictions in this women’s draw is a perilous business.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2020/oct/07/french-open-2020-kvitova-djokovic-kenin-tsitsipas-day-11-quarter-finals-live-tennis

French Open, Petra Kvitová, Laura Siegemund, Sofia Kenin, Tennis, Novak Djokovic

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