French Open 2023
Dates: May 28-Jun 11
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Defending champion Iga Swiatek needed only 31 minutes to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Monday as her Ukrainian opponent Lesia Tsurenko retired after feeling unwell. World number one Swiatek was 4-1 up in the opening set when Tsurenko called on the trainer and had her blood pressure and pulse checked. Following a five-minute medical timeout, the match resumed but Tsurenko threw in the towel after losing the following game to love.
Defending champion Iga Swiatek set up a rematch of last year's French Open final against Coco Gauff by moving into the Roland Garros last eight. Swiatek, going for a third title on the Paris clay, progressed when Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko retired ill as the Polish player led 5-1 in the first set. Sixth seed Gauff, 19, beat Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5 6-2.
"Honestly, since last year I have been wanting to play her especially at this tournament," said Gauff about Swiatek.
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur moved into the quarter-finals for the first time with a 6-3 6-1 win over Bernarda Pera.
Jabeur played in the Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2022 but lost in the first round at Roland Garros last year.
Seventh seed Jabeur, 28, will meet Brazilian 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in the last eight after she eliminated Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Gauff moves on to face Swiatek
On her return to Roland Garros, a year on from her maiden Grand Slam singles final, Gauff said there was "no point in revisiting" last year's 6-1 6-3 defeat by Swiatek. Instead, she preferred to "reset" rather than "dwell" on the experience.
What she learned from that loss – from mental and tactical perspectives – might become apparent when she meets world number one Swiatek again.
Gauff has been far from convincing so far in this year's tournament, twice fighting back from a set down in previous rounds, and also coming through difficult moments against 100th-ranked Schmiedlova.
A strong start saw Gauff move into a 5-2 lead but she became tight trying to close out the first set, Schmiedlova fighting back to 5-5 before Gauff finally wrapped it up.
Gauff also relinquished an early break in the second set and, after digging deep to hold for 2-2, won the final four games to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the third successive year.
There was more edginess in the final game, however, with back-to-back double faults creating two break points for Schmiedlova.
Gauff showed her resolve to recover but will know the biggest test of where her game is will come against Swiatek on Wednesday.
"I'm the type of mentality, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best," said Gauff. "I think also, if you want to improve, you have to play the best.
"The way my career has gone so far, if I see a level, and if I'm not quite there at that level, I know I have to improve. I think it would be almost cowardly to say that I want to not face the noise and not face the challenge, but I think that I'm up for it.
"I have improved a lot since last year, and she has too. I think it would be a great battle for us and for the fans too."
Swiatek, 22, has only dropped nine games in her opening four matches, an impressive statistic boosted by 34-year-old Tsurenko's early retirement.
After racing into a 4-0 lead, Swiatek's progress was checked by Tsurenko clawing a break back before there was a lengthy stoppage when the Ukrainian called a doctor onto court.
Tsurenko – who pulled out of a match against Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka because of a panic attack in March – indicated she was struggling to breathe and had her blood pressure taken.
The world number 66 returned to court but lasted only one more game, allowing Swiatek to progress with an earlier than expected finish.
Jabeur completes sweep of Grand Slam quarters
Jabeur has now reached the quarter-finals in all four Grand Slam events after finally enjoying a deeper run at the major event which she grew up watching as a child.
World number 36 Pera, also 28 and playing in her first Grand Slam last-16 match, struggled on Court Philippe Chatrier and did not hold serve.
Jabeur was not at her fluent best and was herself broken three times in the first set and at the start of the second set, but she raced through the final six games, sealing victory in 63 minutes.
On completing the set of major quarter-finals, she said: "I never thought about something was missing or I didn't reach all four of them.
"Maybe it's a good thing. It came and hopefully we'll set it to all semi-finals and then all finals."
Haddad Maia, 27, came back from a set down to win 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-5 in an epic encounter which lasted three hours and 51 minutes – the longest match on the WTA Tour in 2023.
Haddad Maia was unable to convert three match points in the ninth game of the deciding set and then served for the match before having her serve broken to make it 5-5.
But she then won the next two games to complete the victory.
"I think the emotion was there for both of us," said Haddad Maia. "I'm very happy and proud that I didn't give up and pushed until my limit and I think I deserved it because of that."
Sorribes Tormo, along with partner Marie Bouzkova, were involved in controversy on Sunday in their women's doubles last-16 match as they won when opponent Miyu Kato hit a ball girl with a ball and the Japanese player and Indonesia's Aldila Sutjiadi were disqualified.
Kato was initially given a warning by the umpire but after protests from Sorribes Tormo and Bouzkova, they were disqualified.