Is it possible to win the “wrong” Slam? Keys and Barty are doing their best to find out. Both women have been touted as future major champions, but neither has been touted as a future French Open champ specifically. The American has the power, obviously, but she seemed too erratic for clay; the Aussie has the all-court versatility, obviously, but all-court versatility is rarely rewarded with a title in Paris. But here they are, having both made quiet and mostly efficient runs to the quarterfinals.

Keys and Barty have split their two previous matches. Keys has the more relevant victory, location wise: She beat Barty in straight sets at the 2017 French Open. But Barty has the more relevant victory, time-wise: She beat Keys in straight sets in Fed Cup earlier this year. When she’s on, it’s tough for anyone to stop Keys, but she has thrown in some late-Slam clunkers against quality opponents in recent years, including one to Sloane Stephens in the semis here last year. Barty is a quality player, and she seems to be getting better every week.


There are numerous reasons to be intrigued by this match. First, Halep has never faced Anisimova; will she send the 17-year-old back to tennis school the way she did 18-year-old Iga Swiatek on Monday? Second, this match should give us more information about where Anisimova is in her evolution, and how good she could be. In a similar situation against Petra Kvitova at the Australian Open this year, the young American could barely put a ball in the court. What did Anisimova learn from that experience? She’ll need to have learned a lot to beat Halep at Roland Garros.


Get ready for the slugfest of the day, and maybe the tournament. The Austrian and the Russian never met a ball they didn’t relish the chance to bludgeon. Thiem has been building to this tournament from the moment he lost in the final to Rafael Nadal last year, and his straight-set win over Gael Monfils on Monday would lead you to believe he’s peaking at the right time. Khachanov, by contrast, has flat-lined for most of this season; after a promising 2018, he came to Paris with a bafflingly bad 10-12 record, and he nearly lost to Gregoire Barrere in the second round. But Khachanov lived to fight another day, and he found all of his old game at once in beating Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round. Khachanov and Thiem have met once, in Bercy last year, and Khachanov won. But that was on hard courts, and Thiem should still have the edge on clay.


Zverev is the exceedingly rare player who has a .500 record against Djokovic. They’ve split their four meetings; Zverev won their only match on clay, in the Rome final two years ago, and he won their most recent encounter, in the London final last November. So there are reasons to think the German has a chance against the top seed. But neither of Zverev’s wins came at a major; more specifically, neither came at a major where Djokovic is trying to become the first man in the Open era to win four of them in a row for a second time.

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