Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 9 of the 2020 French Open.
Tennis gave us a little glimpse at its coming future on day 8 and, folks, it’s a bright one.
This past weekend, in a mere matter of hours, both singles draws were blown wide open when youngsters upended the status quo. First, Iga Swiatek had her absolute way with first-seed Simona Halep with a stunning 6-1 and 6-2 line before Italian Jannik Sinner took Alexander Zverev to the roughshod to the tune of 6-3, 6-3, 4-6 and 6-3.
In terms of upsets, the former is truly revelatory. Halep profiled as the heavy favourite for the women’s title and that was true even before her top half of the draw turned into a minefield that took out the majority of seeded players. She was supposed to win everything but couldn’t grab more than a handful of games against the 19-year-old Polish? Yeah, Swiatek has arrived ahead of schedule.
As for Sinner’s triumph, we might have overstated its impact on this particular singles draw: whether it had been Zverev or Sinner, the winner was set to be thrown to the slaughter against Rafael Nadal. Still, this has to be a surprising win for the 19-year-old Italian; it was a mere 10 months ago that the ATP crowned Sinner as its newcomer of the year, yet here he is already making a Grand Slam quarterfinal? That’s incredible.
Zverev, for his part, probably should have never played, nor been allowed to play because he was so sick with fever that he couldn’t breathe. (We’ll discuss this in greater detail in tomorrow’s preview.)
“I’m completely sick…I can’t really breathe, I had fever.” -Zverev, who is wearing his mask even at the podium in press.
(A reminder that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.)#RG20
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) October 4, 2020
Yet somehow, the German played, pretty poorly, and lost. For now, please, by God, do not look at the list of common COVID-19 symptoms.
Let’s move on to the three matches we’ve chosen to highlight on day 9 of this French Open. As always, the entire schedule is here.
Court Phillipe Chatrier: Stefanos Tsitsipas  vs Grigor Dimitrov  (Second match of the day)
The current rulers of men’s tennis have been here for so long that it’s likely that Grigor Dimitrov will have played his entire career in the shadows of the Roger Federers and Rafael Nadals, never truly breaking through to capture a maiden Grand Slam title. In another timeline and universe, the Bulgarian would be someone like his opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas: someone who’s part of the next cohort ready to rule them all, only with the benefit of knowing that the current best players would be long gone by the time you’re fully in your prime.
Life isn’t fair, is what we’re getting at.
Court Suzanne Lenglen: Ons Jabeur  vs Danielle Collins (Second match of the day)
American Danielle Collins apparently has nine lives and just about used all of them to escape the third round and knock out former winner Garbine Muguruza, overcoming a double-break deficit at 0-3 in the final set to grab a 7-5, 2-6 and 6-4 win.
For her trouble, the American gets a matchup against Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who’s been playing about as well as anyone else recently. Buckle up.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Novak Djokovic  vs Karen Khachanov  (Third match of the day)
Throughout the first week of this event, both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal spent their time on Court Philippe Chatrier being utterly ruthless and just generally punting fools to the moon.
But things should start tensing up a little bit starting today. Maybe.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG