French Open Day 10 matches to watch: Canadians go for history in quarters
PARIS -- The French Open quarterfinals kick off on Day 10, with Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic and a couple of Canadians leading the way. Play begins at 8 a.m. ET on Tennis Channel with ESPN2 picking up the coverage at 1 p.m. Click here for the order of play, and see the full TV schedule here.
Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard go for more Canadian history: There's a Canadian man and woman in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in history, and now they'll try to pull off the upsets to go one better. Raonic already made history by becoming the first Canadian man in the Open Era to make the quarterfinals of a Slam when he beat Marcel Granollers in the fourth round, and now he faces a far tougher task against No. 2 Novak Djokovic (Second match, Court Philippe Chatrier).
Raonic has lost his two matches against Djokovic, but he pushed the Serb hard last month at the Italian Open, leading a set and a minibreak before losing 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-3. That was the best match Raonic has ever played on clay, and he'll need to repeat the performance to have a chance against Djokovic again. The Serb has looked very sharp in the first four rounds, losing just one set, and he's made the semifinals in 14 of his last 15 Grand Slam appearances.
"Milos is playing the tennis of his life," Djokovic said. "He's established top-10 player. He has one of the best serves in the world. Very powerful, very precise. When he serves that well, there is not much you can do, really."
Bouchard faces No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro (First match, Court Suzanne Lenglen), and the two have only played once -- last year at Wimbledon, when the Spaniard beat Bouchard easily. Suarez Navarro is trying to make her first Grand Slam semifinal, having made the quarterfinals at the 2008 French Open, the 2009 Australian Open and the 2013 U.S. Open. Gifted with a beautiful one-handed backhand and a keen understanding of how to play on clay, she's the marginal favorite over Bouchard, who is playing on her worst surface.
"She's a bit unique because she has a one-handed backhand," Bouchard said. "Not many girls have that. I played her at Wimbledon last year on grass obviously, so it was faster. I think she has a very solid game. I practiced with her a few times, as well. She can really create some good angles, really rip the ball."
But the 20-year-old was impressive in her 6-1, 6-2 romp over No. 8 Angelique Kerber, so it's really up to the Spaniard to use her angles to get Bouchard out of position and force her to reach for her shots. This is a winnable match for the ambitious Canadian, who is trying to make her second-straight Grand Slam semifinal. Keep an eye on early goings of this match: Bouchard is 8-0 at the majors when she wins the first set.
Garbine Muguruza tries to do what only one woman has ever done: Only one woman has ever beaten both Serena Williams and and Maria Sharapova at a tournament -- any tournament -- and that was Elena Dementieva in 2009 at the Canadian Open. Muguruza looks to join her as she takes on Sharapova (First match, Court Philippe Chatrier). The two have played once, last year in Rome, and Sharapova won easily 6-2, 6-2. This has been a career-best run for the No. 35, but it should end here. I think Sharapova's gritty win over Sam Stosur in the fourth round, rallying from just two games from defeat, kick-started her tournament and showed just how much she wasn't going to let this opportunity for her second Roland Garros title slip through her hands.
Ernests Gulbis looks to continue his five-match winning streak against seeded players at Grand Slams: No. 18 Gulbis tries to back up his upset over Roger Federer against No. 6 Tomas Berdych (second match, Court Suzanne Lenglen). Berdych leads the head-to-head 4-2, but Gulbis won their only Grand Slam meeting at Wimbledon in 2012, winning three tiebreakers for a straight-set win. One interesting thing to note: They'll be playing on Lenglen, which multiple players have said is playing much faster than Chatrier. Gulbis hasn't played on Lenglen. Berdych has. Everything you need to know about Ernests Gulbis