A scream from Collins as her vicious cross-court forehand is prodded long by Jabeur. That’s a fifth break in six games, but more importantly Collins has put daylight between herself and her opponent, leading 4-2. But you can guess what happens next, right? Yep, yet another break, despite Collins hitting a drop shot winner off Jabeur’s drop shot. So it’s Collins 6-4, 4-6, 4-3 Jabeur*.
Mon dieu! A hold on Chatrier, where Collins, having broken back for 2-2 and then promptly slumped 0-40 down on serve, has shown some resolve to dig herself out of a big hole and secure the first hold of the final set. Collins leads 6-4, 4-6, 3-2. I wonder how crucial that could prove to be.
The winner, by the way, will set up a quarter-final against the Australian Open champion and fourth seed, Sofia Kenin, who turned it around last night to defeat France’s last remaining hope in the singles, the dangerous Fiona Ferro, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. Kenin burst into tears after winning, saying she was unhappy with the partisan Parisian crowd. And that was with only small bubbles of socially-distanced fans. I wonder how she’d have reacted if the stadium had been at 15,000 capacity.
Here’s Kevin Mitchell’s roundup of yesterday’s action:
Jabeur does love to throw in a drop shot or two or three – she even dummied one quite ridiculously a couple of games ago – but now it’s Collins’ turn to get in on the act, as she drop shots straight off Jabeur’s return. It’s risky, but she gets away with it. And then breathes a big sigh of relief. Jabeur still manages to get to deuce on Collins’ serve, it’s soon advantage and break point, and Collins coughs up a seventh double fault to make it three breaks in a row. Collins 6-4, 4-6, 1-2 Jabeur*.
Jabeur is jabbing away in the first game of the third set, and has Collins on the ropes at break point, her advantage. The Tunisian takes it when her forehand just clips the line! A prolonged second game goes to three deuces and three break points, before Collins finishes off a well-constructed point by punching the backhand volley into the open space. It’s back on serve. *Collins 6-4, 4-6, 1-1 Jabeur.
Today’s order of play
Court Philippe Chatrier
(30) Ons Jabeur (Tun) v Danielle Collins (USA)
(3) Elina Svitolina (Ukr) v Nadia Podoroska (Arg)
(12) Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (Arg) v (3) Dominic Thiem (Aut)
Iga Swiatek (Pol) v Martina Trevisan (Ita)
Jannik Sinner (Ita) v (2) Rafael Nadal (Spa)
Court Suzanne Lenglen
(8) Kevin Krawietz (Ger) & Andreas Mies (Ger) v (13) Jamie Murray (Gbr) & Neal Skupski (Gbr)
Marta Kostyuk (Ukr) & Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Blr) v (2) Timea Babos (Hun) & Kristina Mladenovic (Fra)
(9) Sofia Kenin (USA) & Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) v (4) Barbora Krejcikova (Cze) & Katerina Siniakova (Cze)
(9) Wesley Koolhof (Ned) & Nikola Mektic (Cro) v Nicholas Monroe (USA) & Tommy Paul (USA)
The roof is clunk, clunk, clunking away as it closes on Chatrier. Collins is now in the dry, but poor Jabeur is still getting a bit wet as she steps up to serve for the second set at 5-4. She wipes her forehead before taking the first point for 15-0. Make that 30-0, 40-0. Collins clobbers a forehand into the net and from 3-0 down in the second set, Jabeur has surged back to seize it 6-4. This is going to a decider.
Il pleut. Umbrellas are springing up among the smattering of spectators who’ve been allowed to watch on Philippe Chatrier. There’s a brief discussion; it seems the roof may be coming on. Jabeur is undistracted, as she backs up the break for 5-3.
Meanwhile over on Suzanne Lenglen – where there is no roof –Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski will have to come from a set and a break down if they’re to reach the men’s doubles semi-finals. The British pair trail the defending champions, Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, 6-4, 3-1.
Wow. What a turnaround. Jabeur is now controlling the play with her wonderful variety and mix of pace and has three more break points. It’s 3-3, 0-40 on Collins’ serve. Jabeur doesn’t take the first break point, but she finds a mind-bending angle on the second to pull off the winner. Jabeur breaks for 4-3 in the second set.
It’s three games on the spin for Jabeur. The Tunisian draws level in the second set at 3-3.
Collins stepped it up at just the right time in the first set, breaking Jabeur at 5-4 to take it. Jabeur, the first Arab woman to play in the fourth round at Roland Garros, is such a lovely player to watch but the 30th seed is finding the blustery, slow conditions tougher than her American opponent; Collins has been better able to hit through the ball. Collins is an interesting character: equally feisty and sporting on court, she’s applauded several of Jabeur’s winners. She doesn’t look too happy though when she skews wide and Jabeur breaks back. It’s 6-4, 3-2 Collins.
Bonjour mesdames et messieurs! Et bienvenue au jour 10 de notre couverture de Roland Garros que l’action quart de finale commence. And that’s about as far as my knowledge of French – with a little bit of help from Google Translate* – will take me.
It’s a loaded lineup on Philippe Chatrier, starting with the last remaining fourth-round match, Ons Jabeur v Danielle Collins, carried over from yesterday because of rain. The quarter-finals then begin with the highest seed left in a wildly unpredictable women’s draw, Elina Svitolina (3), against the qualifier Nadia Podoroska of Argentina; the US Open champion, Dominic Thiem, also faces an Argentinian opponent, the diminutive and determined Diego Schwartzman; then it’s the prodigy against the journeywoman as the Polish teenager Iga Swiatek, fresh from scoring that stunning win over Simona Halep, meets Martina Trevisan, the 26-year-old qualifier from Florence playing in only her second slam; before Rafael Nadal rounds things off in a match that represents the present and future. The 12-times champion plays the hugely gifted 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, the first male player to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals on his debut since … a certain Mr Nadal 15 years ago.
And play is already under way: with Collins a set and a break up on Jabeur, 6-4, 3-0. So let’s get on with this …
* OK, a big bit