How about that Marco Cecchinato?

With all due respect to the other three victors, world no. 72 once again owned the day on Tuesday. How could he not with that performance?

In what was undoubtedly the match of the tournament so far, the 25-year-old Italian went toe-to-toe with a more-than-game Novak Djokovic and came away victorious, 6-3, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6.

At least in recent memory, it’s hard to think of a journeyman who has so clearly outplayed his ranking over several grand slam matches. If you hadn’t watched or heard anything about tennis in the past five years, you’d have thought Cecchinato was easily a top-10 player, and a very entertaining one at that.

Whether he falls against Dominic Thiem in the semis or keeps the dream alive, this is going to be a slam run we remember for a very long time – and probably not his last.

Read on for our previews of all four quarterfinals on day 11 at Roland Garros.

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [3] v Maria Sharapova (RUS) [28] – First on Philippe Chatrier

Two players who won their fourth round matches by literally showing up, odds are this one will be a tad more competitive. Their last meeting coming in 2014, there’s no really significant history here, but expect it to play out similarly to the Sharapova-Serena fourth-rounder we missed out on, with both women refusing to cede much ground at the baseline, and about as much first-strike tennis as you can get on clay. Execution will be the name of the game, and if either struggles to find their range it could be a quick afternoon, but both have played well this tournament and it’s far more likely we get a tight three setter, complete with plenty of shredded tennis balls.

Simona Halep (ROU) [1] v Angelique Kerber (GER) [12] – First on Suzanne Lenglen

Already the stars of one absolute cracker at a major this year, Simona Halep and Angie Kerber now get a chance to run back their 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 thriller in Melbourne all over again. Perhaps Halep has a slight edge being historically more comfortable on clay, but considering the closeness of the head-to-head (5-4 Halep), form coming in (the only set either has lost this tournament was in Halep’s opener) and matchup of styles, this is set to be a similarly even dogfight. Expect some spectacular defending from both players, with rapid transitions from defense-to-offense making the difference in what will be a test of will as much as anything. If there’s one match you watch today, make it this one.


Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] v Diego Schwartzman (ARG) [11] – Second on Philippe Chatrier

If you’ve been checking this space regularly since the start of the tournament, you might have noticed Rafa Nadal is yet to feature in our previews, and with good reason – it’s simply been a foregone conclusion. Can Diego Schwartzman do any better? Certainly there’s reason for self-belief given he pushed Nadal to four at the Australian Open in January, but the Nadal we saw in Melbourne and the one we are seeing right now aren’t the same players, and that goes beyond the clay. Curiously listless in that encounter, Nadal is back to being as lethal as he ever was, and the harsh truth is he does everything Schwartzman does better. Maybe Schwartzman can scrap his way to stealing another set, but realistically, this is going to be another trademark Rafa obliteration.

Marin Cilic (CRO) [3] v Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [5] – Second on Suzanne Lenglen

If you like watching big guys with even bigger forehands, well… this is the match for you. In Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic, you have two of the finest purveyors of power tennis, and on this surface they’ll certainly get a chance to trade wares. That said, you might be surprised to learn this is actually one of the more one-sided rivalries on the tour, with Cilic winning only two of their twelve meetings, and not since August 2011, which for context, was a month before “Call Me Maybe”came out. If the Croat is to finally get back on the board here, he’ll need to consistently out-do Del Potro at using his backhand and backhand slice to set up the forehand, but also be willing to come forward and finish at the net. Of course, the Argentine will be trying to do the same things to him, and hopefully that leads to another five-set classic – it certainly wouldn’t be their first.


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