Day 10 at Roland Garros may have been cut short by rain, but in the few hours we did get of on-court action, we were lucky enough to see the emerge of 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko.
Downing eleventh seed Caroline Wozniacki in three sets, Ostapenko demonstrated the sort of composure and fighting spirit that defines grand slam champions. She was up against it on both the scoreboard (5-0 down in the first) and with the weather, and handled herself beautifully. Maybe she will win here, maybe not, but the future is bright for the Latvian.
Obviously with the rain yesterday, Wednesday’s proceedings will include all four men’s quarterfinals, so check out the day 10 preview for Thiem/Djokovic and Carreno Busta/Nadal, and read on for a look at the other four matches on offer. I hope you’ve got ten hours to spare – you’re gonna need it!
Karolina Pliskova (CZE)  vs Caroline Garcia (FRA)  – 2nd on Philippe Chatrier
Their rankings may not suggest it, but Pliskova and Garcia have a sneaky-great rivalry on par with the likes of Rafa Nadal’s battle with hair loss. Not only are they 2-2 in the head-to-head, but they’ve played a 11 out of a possible 12 sets in those meetings, and with the form they’ve exhibited coming into this contest, it’s hard to bet against a similar result. Both heavy hitting, if not quite fast moving baseliners, the difference will be which woman can consistently get their opponent on the stretch, which will require either line-painting missiles, or a bit of creative drop-shottery – but in either case it’s sure to be an intriguing encounter. It’s also worth noting the partisan French crowd played their part when Garcia last beat Pliskova during the 2016 Fed Cup finals in Strasbourg, so expect them to once again help her keep things spicy.
Elina Svitolina (UKR)  vs Simona Halep (ROU)  – 2nd on Suzanne Lenglen
Yet to drop a set this tournament, Halep now faces off against a woman who managed to take two off of her barely a fortnight ago in the Rome final, even if it was with an ankle injury. In any case, there’s no denying the rapid ascent of Svitolina, whose four titles are more than anyone on the WTA tour this year, and is a legitimate threat to best Halep again. The chances of Svitolina pulling it off come down largely to whether she can step in quickly on Halep’s service games as the longer rallies go, the more the advantageous it is to the Romanian – although with the ruthless streak she’s being showing of late, that might not be enough. You get the feeling this is a tournament of destiny for the Romanian, but hey, nothing is set in stone.
Andy Murray (GBR)  vs Kei Nishikori (JPN)  – 3rd on Philippe Chatrier
Having both come through surprisingly well their tough fourth round matches, Nishikori and Murray now get a chance run each other into the ground. With an 8-2 head-to-head advantage, Murray will come in a strong favourite, but Nishikori doesn’t have to look far for a positive memory, with his five set US Open victory over the Scot from last year to draw on. If Nishikori wants to repeat that performance, he’s going to have to once again out-return Murray (certainly no easy task) and look to accelerate the tempo, particularly off his favoured backhand, but the 2016 RG finalist knows how to move around here, and will take every opportunity to change of depth and direction, which should keep Nishikori uncomfortable. Any way you cut it, there’s little to choose between the two, so just make sure you’re well-supplied with your favourite beverage.
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)  vs Marin Cilic (CRO)  – 3rd on Suzanne Lenglen
You ever looked at Roland Garros’ Terre Battue and asked yourself “why can’t this be a hardcourt?” well, when Cilic and Wawrinka square off, it basically is. Even on clay, points between these two tend to end one of two ways – either with a routine put away off a mammoth serve, or one guy getting bored of blasting it up the centre of the court and trying instead to paint the sideline, with varying results. There’s no reason not to expect more of the same here, and while Wawrinka comes in the favourite with his 11-2 head-to-head advantage, both men have to have plenty of confidence considering they’re yet to drop a set this tournament. This is the definition of an explosive encounter – and I mean that literally.