Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 11 of the 2020 French Open.
The Perfect Match
It would have been so easy to give a non-answer.
That’s what we thought as we read through Simona Halep’s surprisingly forthcoming answer—that it would have been so easy for the Romanian to simply give an «oh shucks» type of non-answer and move on. The question came a full year+ after the match in question and was asked by a journalist at an entirely different event altogether, after the Romanian’s first-round win at said event, so you could have understood if Halep gave a bland answer. Hell, that’s what most players would have done, really.
But somehow, the Romanian indulged the journalist. “Happy birthday,” started the reporter. (It’s probably what prompted Halep to give a real answer.) “My question is a non match question. Have you ever played the perfect tennis match? Do you think it’s possible to play an absolutely perfect tennis match?”
Halep went on to reference her triumph in the 2019 Wimbledon final, where she denied the great Serena Williams in two identical sets of 6-2. “I think that one, it was perfect. I actually, I sit down and I try to analyze what I did wrong or what I did less good,” Halep said. “It doesn’t exist. So that match was perfect.”
To be Fair…
To be fair, she had called this win the “best match of [her] life” after the fact, so this isn’t exactly surprising. This was a match that Halep utterly dominated against the likely best women’s tennis player of all time, but we’re not here to discuss or debate whether this win deserves to be called perfect or not.
More than anything, we highlight Halep’s answer today simply to say how great it is to hear a player be actually forthcoming with information and willing to give true answers to reporters’ questions. Here’s to hoping more and more players follow Halep’s lead in the coming days, weeks and months.
Let’s move on to the singles quarterfinals on the agenda today; as always, we’ll give our predictions for the winners and in how many sets. (For the entire day 11 schedule, please click here.)
Featured Matches of the Day
Court Philippe Chatrier: Petra Kvitova  vs Laura Siegemund (First match of the day)
Over a career that started all the way back in 2006, 30-year-old Petra Kvitova has seen just about every single scenario play out once or twice. Here you are thinking about how this 2020 quarterfinal surely must be a career best performance on the Paris clay, what with this being by far the worst surface for her game. And yet, this year’s result still pales in comparison to Kvitova’s 2012 semifinal berth. Oops.
Anyway, we say all this to say Kvitova in three sets.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Sofia Kenin  vs Danielle Collins (Second match of the day)
Danielle Collins has come out of nowhere this year in Paris to make the final eight. The American faces a counterpart in the quarterfinals as Sofia Kenin seems to have used last month’s US Open (where she made the fourth round) as an opportunity to recapture the level of play she showed earlier this year. It must be said: it’s this year that Kenin captured the Australian Open title; even if it feels 23 years ago, it happened a mere nine months ago. Kenin wins here in two sets.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Stefanos Tsitsipas  vs Andrey Rublev  (Third match of the day)
It’s easy to forget now, but both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev were this close of never making it past the first round, let alone reaching the quarterfinals, as they needed to come back from two sets to love in their first match. in Paris Yet, here they are. Never stop dreaming, kids. Let’s give the edge to Rublev in four sets.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Novak Djokovic  vs Pablo Carreno Busta  (Fourth match of the day)
Here we go again. A month after facing each other in the fourth round at the US Open, Novak Djokovic and Pablo Carreno Busta are back at it in the quarterfinals. Djokovic grabs a win in four sets.
Unless he hits another line judge.
What, too soon?
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG