- Associated Press
Monday, October 5, 2020

PARIS — Petra Kvitova owns two Wimbledon titles, so making it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the 13th time should not necessarily feel like a big deal to her.

Ah, but this was different. Which is why the seventh-seed Czech player’s emotions swelled and her eyes watered after she beat Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-4 on Monday at the French Open, where she hadn’t reached the round of eight since 2012.

Poignantly, this was the tournament where Kvitova made her tennis comeback three years ago, following a harrowing knife attack that left her with serious injuries to her racket-swinging left hand and with doubts about whether she’d ever play again.

“My memories. Happy memories. … Everything just came back to me,” said the No. 7 seed, who next faces Laura Siegemund, a first-time Slam quarterfinalist.

“When I’m talking, I’m getting emotional again. It’s been a long ride, definitely. Everything came to my mind — my whole family, people who I loved, (who helped) me through the tough, tough time,” Kvitova said. “I don’t know, just everything came back.”

In other women’s action: After dropping her first set Monday, 21-year-old American Sofia Kenin adjusted, taking balls sooner and leaving Fiona Ferro less time to operate, en route to a decisive 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over the last French player in either singles bracket.

She had to wait a day to find out who she faces next after the match between No. 30 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and Danielle Collins of the U.S. was postponed by rain.

The other quarterfinal in that half of the draw will be two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova against Laura Siegemund.

On the men’s side:The men’s quarterfinals established Monday are both rematches: No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 17 Pablo Carreno Busta, and No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas against No. 13 Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic dealt with what amounted to the closest thing to a challenge he’s faced so far in the tournament in his 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 15 seed Karen Khachanov — the 2016 champion has dropped a total of 25 games in four matches. What drew attention was what the 17-time Grand Slam champion termed “very awkward deja vu.”

It was, to be perfectly clear, entirely an accident, more of a fluke than anything else, when Djokovic stretched wide of the doubles alley to try to return a first-set serve, the ball ricocheting off his racket frame and into the head of a seated line judge.

Still, different as it was, the moment conjured memories of the U.S. Open, where Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth-round match against Carreno Busta for striking a ball that unintentionally hit a line judge in the throat. That one happened after Djokovic dropped a game in the first set; he hit a ball in anger while walking to the sideline.

On Monday, it happened in the course of play, and Djokovic immediately went over to check on the man, who shook it off and signaled a thumbs-up.

Djokovic’s match continued apace, putting him in the French Open quarterfinals for the 11th consecutive year. “I mean, obviously because of what happened in New York, people, I guess, are going to make (a) story out of this,” Djokovic said.

This victory moved Djokovic into his 47th Grand Slam quarterfinal. Carreno Busta got to his fourth, and second at Roland Garros, by beating 186th-ranked qualifier Daniel Altmaier 6-2, 7-5, 6-2.

Djokovic is seeking a second French Open championship and 18th major trophy overall. Among men, only Federer, with 20, and Rafael Nadal, with 19, have more.

Tsitsipas and Rublev both dropped the first two sets they played in Paris last week — and now both are making a French Open quarterfinal debut.

Tsitsipas eliminated No. 18 Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 (9), 6-2 on Monday; Rublev defeated Marton Fucsovics 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Their meeting Wednesday comes 10 days after Rublev beat Tsitsipas in three sets in the final of the Hamburg Open on Sept. 27 Day 1 of the French Open.

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