Annabel Croft mentions on the Eurosport commentary that Kvitova interestingly hasn’t been practising on her days off, but she’s still been coming to Roland Garros every day just to have lunch. When you’re in a Covid-enforced bubble, I guess your eating options are limited. Speaking of food … there’s no sign yet of Siegemund asking her team for a takeaway, as she did during her last-16 win against Paula Badosa. She was munching on what looked like noodles between games, though she assured the umpire afterwards it was not a Chinese takeaway. But I digress. A hold apiece and Siegemund, at 5-2 down, is serving to stay in the first set.
Kvitova comes through her toughest examination yet on serve, holding from deuce to back up the break. There may only be one break between them but the gap seems bigger. Kvitova, looking calm and focused, pumps her fist with a quiet determination on her way back to her chair. The two-times former Wimbledon champion leads 4-1.
Kvitova is off to a confident start, with two love holds. She leads 2-1 and is already pushing and probing on Siegemund’s serve. It’s 15-40, two break points. Kvitova, usually an all-or-nothing player who goes for broke, has been far more disciplined at this tournament in the slow, damp conditions. Unable to simply hit through opponents, she’s been staying patient and mixing things up, and she helpfully illustrates that point here by staying in the rally and waiting for the Siegemund error. Kvitova breaks for 3-1.
Siegemund is appearing in her first major quarter-final at the age of 32, while this is Kvitova’s 13th. Siegemund, ranked 66 in the world, was derailed by a serious knee injury a few years ago – which perhaps explains why she’s not only wearing leggings but knee-high socks for today’s encounter, despite the slightly warmer conditions. Kvitova’s career, of course, also stalled after that knife attack in her home in 2016. She was so emotional on Monday after her win in the fourth round, as she remembered making her comeback at Roland Garros in 2017. It’s great to see her playing so well and she’d be a hugely popular champion.
Sacré bleu! Petra Kvitova and Laura Siegemund have stepped on to court in sunshine. The high today is a balmy 17 degrees, with only a small chance of rain. It’s still breezy, but not nearly as bad as it was yesterday.
Today’s order of play
While chaos has ripped through the women’s draw with as much ferocity as the autumn wind at Roland Garros, two unstoppable forces of nature remain on the men’s side. After Rafa Nadal reached the semi-finals for a record-extending 13th time by overcoming the challenge of the Italian teenager Jannik Sinner at 1.26am this morning in the tournament’s latest ever finish, today Novak Djokovic bids to join him in the last four.
This is the 11th consecutive year Djokovic has appeared in the quarter-finals – a record even Nadal can’t match. It seems tough on Djokovic that his return on that is only one title compared to his rival’s 12, but such is Nadal’s imperiousness on the Paris clay. Many, however, would give Djokovic the slight edge if they do meet in Sunday’s final; the world No 1 is unbeaten in 35 completed matches this year, his only loss coming when he was infamously disqualified at the US Open last month against Pablo Carreno Busta. In a quirk of the draw, Djokovic faces the same opponent today.
That match ends the day 11 schedule on Philippe Chatrier, after the battle between the 22-year-old talents Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, with the women’s matches taking place first. Petra Kvitova and Sofia Kenin will be fancied to book a semi-final against each other – Kvitova plays the unseeded German Laura Siegemund and Kenin, the Australian Open champion, has an all-American meeting with Danielle Collins – but making predictions in this women’s draw is a perilous business.
Play begins: in a few minutes’ time. So don’t go anywhere.