PARIS: Teenager Holger Rune became the first Danish man to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Monday when he shocked world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, while Daria Kasatkina and Veronika Kudermetova guaranteed a Russian woman will make the semi-finals.
Rune, just 19 and ranked 40, swept to a memorable 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win on the back of 54 winners against the 2021 runner-up from Greece.
He will face Norway’s eighth seed Casper Ruud for a place in the last-four.
With fellow 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz already into the quarter-finals, it is the first time two teenagers have made it this far in Paris since Hendrik Dreekman and Andrei Medvedev 28 years ago.
In a tense fourth set, Rune gave up a 5-2 lead and fought off three more break points in the 10th game before he secured victory when Tsitsipas hit long.
“I was very nervous and I knew that if I went away from my tactics I would lose,” said Rune who won his maiden ATP title in Munich in the build-up to Paris.
“I told myself just stick to the plan and that gave me a confidence boost. It’s so great to still be here.”
Tsitsipas said he would be ready for Rune next time.
“He is a very emotional player, he can play great, he absolutely deserves this victory, played better, faced crucial tough moments better,” said the 23-year-old.
“But I can see something different next time with this opponent. I’m pretty convinced I can do way better.”
Ruud became the first Norwegian man to reach the last eight with a 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.
The 23-year-old is also into his first ever Grand Slam quarter-final as he continues an impressive season which has seen him win two clay-court titles.
“It’s been a goal of mine to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam,” said Ruud.
Ruud will start favourite in Wednesday’s match, having won all three of his previous ATP meetings with Rune, all on clay and without dropping a set.
One of those wins came at Monte Carlo as recently as last month.
In the women’s draw, Kasatkina said she is looking forward to sharing another “good memory” with Kudermetova when the Russian duo face each other in the quarter-finals.
Kasatkina, seeded 20th, took advantage of Italian Camila Giorgi’s 37 unforced errors to win their last-16 tie, 6-2, 6-2.
Kudermetova reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final as the world number 29 came back from a set down to defeat 2018 semi-finalist Madison Keys of the United States, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Kasatkina and Kudermetova, who are both 25, played against each other from a young age and were part of the Russian squad who won last year’s Billie Jean King Cup.
“We played so many times,” said Kasatkina. “We were on one team winning Billie Jean King Cup last year, so we have many good memories to share together.”
The draw guarantees at least one Russian semi-finalist in Paris.
That heightens the prospect of the newly-crowned French Open champion not being able to play at Wimbledon, where Russian and Belarusian players have been banned over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Jessica Pegula fought back after a difficult start to seal a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Romanian qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu and advance to her second straight Grand Slam quarter-final.
Pegula will take on the winner of the match between world number one Iga Swiatek or Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen.
On Sunday night, Rafael Nadal set up a blockbuster quarter-final against world number one Novak Djokovic when he defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime in a five-set fourth round epic and pledged to “fight until the end”.
Nadal, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros and holder of a record 21 Grand Slam titles, triumphed over the Canadian 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a match which lasted four hours and 21 minutes.
It was only the third time in his 17-year, 112-match career in Paris that Nadal had been stretched to five sets.
Nadal and Djokovic will meet for the 10th time at Roland Garros and 59th overall in a rivalry stretching back to 2006.
“We know each other well, we have a lot of history. The only thing I can say is that I will be focussed, try my best and fight until the end,” said Nadal on facing the defending champion on Tuesday
Djokovic or Nadal could face Spanish teenage sensation Alcaraz in the semi-finals.
The 19-year-old romped into his first French Open quarter-final with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Russian Karen Khachanov and will face German third seed Alexander Zverev in the last eight.
On the women’s side, American Sloane Stephens, the 2018 finalist, reached the quarter-finals with a commanding 6-2, 6-0 win over Swiss 23rd seed Jil Teichmann. Stephens will face Coco Gauff in all-American quarter-final clash.