For the first time since 2013, the top five men’s seeds are all through to the quarterfinal of a grand slam tournament. The stars have shined bright at the French Open, making quick work of their lower-ranked opponents.
The world #1, Novak Djokovic, did not drop a set on his way to the final eight.
Djokovic played two top-50 opponents in Hubert Hurkacz and Jan-Lennard Struff, but the seeded players in his draw, including thirteen-seed Borna Coric, were all defeated before potential meetings with Djokovic.
Roger Federer also distinguished his foes in straight sets. Federer’s path to the quarters was the easiest among the three. His highest ranked opponent was Casper Ruud, #63 in the ATP rankings.
Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros champion in 11 of the last 14 years, hiccuped in the 3rd set against 27-seed David Goffin but has been otherwise flawless. It was the first set Nadal has lost to Goffin on clay out their total four matches. Nadal ended Juan Ignacio Londero’s surprising run with a decisive 6-2 6-3 6-3 4th round win.
Last year’s French Open finalist, Dominic Thiem, had the toughest road to the quarterfinal among the top seeds. He faced the dangerously unpredictable Alexander Bublik in the second round, veteran clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas in the third, and the supremely talented Gael Monfils in the fourth round. Thiem dropped a set to each of his first three opponents, before a particularly sharp three-set performance against Gael Monfils.
The real challenge begins in the quarterfinals for the top males. Novak Djokovic faces German world number five Alexander Zverev. The two have split their previous four meetings. Zverev won his only match against Djokovic on clay in Rome 2017.
Roger Federer draws fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka beat Federer at Roland Garros in 2015, and went on to win the tournament. Federer has been dominant in the matchup overall, however, boasting a 22-3 record over his countryman.
Rafael Nadal is a heavy favourite against seven-seed Kei Nishikori. Nishikori has played two consecutive five-set matches. Both lasted more than four hours. Nishikori may not have a full gas tank for the ‘king of clay.’
The other quarterfinal is between Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov. The big-hitting Khachanov scored an upset victory over Juan Martin Del Potro in the 4th round. Prior to the French Open, the Russian was in the midst of a disappointing 10-12 start to the season. Khachanov has won his only meeting with Thiem.