By Luis Miguel Pascual
Paris, Jun 6 (EFE).- Switzerland’s Roger Federer and US tennis icon Serena Williams both pulled out of the French Open on Sunday, the former due to health concerns after moving to the fourth round and the latter after her defeat.
The pair had won a total of 43 Grand Slam titles, but their farewell to the tourney eclipsed the other news from the Roland Garros competition, including the fact that Russia’s Daniil Medvedev and Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas both moved to the quarterfinals.
On Saturday, Federer, 39, had beaten Dominik Koepfer 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 in a duel lasting three hours and 35 minutes, but in a statement released by the French Open he said: “It’s important that I listen to my body and make sure I don’t push myself too quickly on my road to recovery. I am thrilled to have gotten 3 matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court.”
Federer, who won the French Open title once before in 2009, added that he had had to undergo two knee surgeries and spent a year of rehabilitation in 2020. With his win over Koepfer, he had been scheduled to take on Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
In women’s tennis action, Williams’ defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan’s 21-year-old Elena Rybakina, ranked No. 22, opened the tourney up for an unpredictable finish, given that none of the female competitors has ever made it to the quarterfinals before.
Williams claimed that, even after her loss, she was in a much better position than when she arrived. It was widely known that she had rather low expectations for this tourney and she played well in her first three rounds and had reversed those expectations until she came up against Rybakina, 21, in the fourth round, who downed her 6-3 and 7-5.
Now, Rybakina will go up against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who surprised observers by staging a comeback win over Belarus’s Victoria Azarenka 5-7, 6-3 and 6-2 to make it to her second quarterfinals in Paris.
The other women’s quarterfinals match to be played will feature Spain’s Paula Badosa against Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek, with the former downing the Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 3-6 and 6-2 and the latter defeating Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 7-6(4) and 6-1.
On the men’s side, things are developing a little more logically, with Medvedev, 25, ultimately managing to secure a quarterfinals spot in a tourney in which he appeared to have been jinxed, never having notched a victory in his four earlier outings.
The Moscow native, ranked No. 2 in the world, has won four matches this time around, however, the latest against Chile’s Cristian Garin, also 25, who had beaten him a month ago at the Madrid Masters 1,000, but who on Sunday fell 6-2, 6-1 and 7-5 in his first foray into the top rounds of a big-name contest.
Medvedev’s rival in the quarterfinals will be Tsitsipas, 22, the fifth seed, who – like the Russian – has been charming fans right and left.
The Russian had steamrollered over Spain’s Pablo Carreño, the 12th seed, 6-3, 6-2 and 7-5 and holds the advantage over Tsitsipas, having won six of their seven encounters, including their only clash on clay in Montecarlo in 2019.
The other men’s quarterfinals match will pit Germany’s Alexander Zverev against Spain’s No. 46-ranked Alejandro Davidovich, one of the surprises of the tourney. Zverev defeated Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-1 and 6-1, while Davidovich got by Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6 and 6-4.
Zverev was a finalist at the recent US Open tourney, came to Paris fresh off his win in the Madrid Masters 1,000 and will now seek to get into his first Roland Garros semifinals.