Weather fails to rain on Ostapenko’s parade

It was a drab day in Paris on Day Ten of Roland Garros, with upsets on court the only thing to lift the spirits on a day heavily affected by rain.

The miserable Parisian summer weather put paid to the action in the men’s draw, with the quarter-finals between No. 20 seed Pablo Carreno Busta’s match against No. 4 Rafael Nadal, and No. 6 Dominic Thiem versus No. 2 Novak Djokovic postponed to Wednesday following torrential rain and several delays.

The on-court action that did manage to take place, however, more than made up for the cancellations with Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko blasting her way into the semifinals to set up a semi-final birthday bash with a difference on Thursday (Both Ostapenko and her opponent Timea Bacsinszky share a birthday on that day.)

Unseeded Ostapenko showed great resolve to come back after losing the first set to the more experienced Caroline Wozniacki, and held her nerve through the rain delays before unleashing some ferocious shots that earned her 38 winners to Wozniacki’s six and comparisons to Monica Seles.

Those looking at the result may have been surprised, but Ostapenko had won all three of the duo’s previous meetings, including two on clay, so perhaps it wasn’t much of a surprise to the players.

In the other game to take place Swiss player Timea Bacsinszky (30) made her second Roland Garros semi with a battling win over the conditions and home favourite Kristina Mladenovic (13).

Speaking afterwards, Bacsinszky said, “It was really difficult because we had all the seasons rolled into one today. We had a sand storm, a hurricane and we almost had snow too. It was really tough to keep my concentration all day long.”

With both players in good form, it is difficult to predict just who will be enjoying a double celebration come Thursday.

Wednesday will see all four men’s quarter-finals take place, with the big question remaining can anyone stop Rafael Nadal’s seeming inevitable march to a record 10th title at Roland Garros.

Not many would bet on Nadal’s opponent and debut Grand Slam quarter-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta being able to do so, but he will not go down without a fight.

Nadal has dropped just 20 games in four matches.

“If I think that I don’t have a chance, I will not play. So for sure I think I have a chance,” Carreno Busta said. “It’s really difficult, because Rafa is maybe the best player on this surface in history, and he’s playing really good, but I will try. I’m playing good. I’m [playing] with a lot of confidence.”

The winner will face Novak Djokovic or Dominic Thiem, with the rejuvenated Djokovic in with a chance of retaining the title he finally won for the first time last year.

The other side of the draw sees Andy Murray face Kei Nishikori and 2015 Champion Stan Wawrinka against 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic.

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