Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
No one beats Simona Halep five times in a row on clay, not even a dirt loving Spaniard with a whippy single-handed backhand.
Halep, the title favourite from Romania, dropped just two games against the 21st-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro in an hour to set up a quarter-final against Elina Svitolina, who found herself two points away from defeat before rallying to beat Croatian qualifier Petra Martic.
Although Halep, of Romania, had assessed her chances of playing at Roland Garros at “50/50,” the week before the tournament because of an ankle injury, she has improved with every round and is now approaching peak form.
It was a statement performance from the world No.4, who is yet to drop a set in the tournament.
“I think I played my best match this year,” the 2014 finalist told the crowd on the main Court Philippe Chatrier after firing 19 winners against a player who had beaten her in all previous four matches on clay.
“She is a very good player on clay,” said Halep.
“I pushed her back, I tried to be aggressive and I was extra motivated because I really enjoy this court and it’s great to play the quarter-final again.”
Next up is Svitolina, who beat the Romanian in the final of the Italian Open the week before Paris.
A few hours later, world No.1 Andy Murray moved into to his fourth straight French Open quarter-final and recorded his 650th Tour level win after producing a defensive masterclass against Russian Karen Khachanov, triumphing 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on a windy day at Roland Garros.
There were some spectacular exchanges between Murray and his former training partner, who has a bright future ahead.
Murray will face a tough test in his next match, where he’ll play former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, who overcame Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0.
Although Murray must have some painful memories from last year’s quarter-final encounter at the US Open, which Nishikori won in five sets, the No.8 seed from Japan appears to have none.
“I'm very bad with the memories,” Nishikori said. “I don't even know if I win or lost.”
Once called “a future No.1,” by Murray after she pushed Maria Sharapova all the way at Roland Garros in 2011, France’s Caroline Garcia joined her former doubles partner Kiki Mladenovic in her first French Open quarter-final with a 6-2, 6-4 win against another Fed Cup team mate, Alize Cornet.
Although it’s the first time France have had two women in the last eight since 1994, it remains 17 years since a French player lifted the Roland Garros trophy.
Serving for the match at 5-3, Garcia was broken after hitting two double faults.
But Cornet then produced two double faults of her own, and Garcia advanced after drawing an error with a deep shot.
“I’m very happy for my first win at the Philippe Chatrier Court,” Garcia said, adding that her doubles victory with Mladenovic last year had helped ease her nerves.
“I was not feeling any negative pressure, just positive ones,” said Garcia, who struggled with a back injury earlier in the season but has now won all seven matches she’s played against French players.
“I was very focused on what I had to do.”
It meant the world to Garcia, who will now play Karolina Pliskova next after the big-serving Czech overcame Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Down 5-2, 30-0 in the decider and with her dreams of winning a first Grand Slam title hanging by a thread, Svitolina regrouped to take seven games in a row and move to her second French Open quarter-final with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Martic.
How did she do it?
“Svitolina mode,” said the 22-year-old Ukrainian, who has won a women’s Tour leading four titles this year. ”I start playing, I start waiting for the right ball.”
With Rafael Nadal, Murray and Novak Djokovic taking centre stage at Roland Garros, Stan Wawrinka has been quietly making his way through the draw.
Switzerland’s No.2 will play former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the quarter-final after he broke French hearts by knocking out Gael Monfils, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 6-2.
The 77-minute second set was a nailbiter, with Wawrinka winning it in a tiebreak 9-7 after missing three set points.
And it wouldn’t be a proper Monfils match unless some of his shots would make the highlight reel: