Tennis: Second seed Jannik Sinner rallies to reach French Open quarter-finals, as late finishes come under scrutiny

Jannik Sinner has taken time to get his engine going, before motoring into the French Open quarter-finals, while defending champion Iga Swiatek raced through, as scheduling at the Grand Slam came under scrutiny, after Novak Djokovic's overnight marathon.

Second seed Sinner kept his hopes of taking Djokovic's top ranking alive with a battling 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-1 win over local favourite Corentin Moutet in front of partisan fans on Court Philippe Chatrier.

With Roland Garros still abuzz after an epic duel, where Djokovic prevailed after the tournament's latest finish at just past 3am local time, Swiatek provided a masterclass to beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0 6-0 in 40 minutes.

Jannik Sinner in action at the French Open.
Jannik Sinner in action at the French Open. Photo credit: Getty Images

American Coco Gauff was not as ruthless as her Polish rival, but equally efficient, as she powered past Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1 6-2 in an hour, before Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrousova mowed down Serbian Olga Danilovic 6-4 6-2.

Ons Jabeur continued her quest to win an elusive maiden Grand Slam by taking out Danish player Clara Tauson 6-4 6-4, before breaking into a song with her fans, as matches were wrapped up in double-quick time.

It was a largely a similar tune on the men's side too, as third seed Carlos Alcaraz thumped Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-3 6-1 to set up a rematch of his 2023 quarter-final with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Matteo Arnaldi 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2 6-2.

"I love these kinds of matches," Alcaraz said. "Hopefully, the crowd enjoys [it] as much as I'm going to. Let's see how it's going to be."

Alcaraz's entertaining win meant the entire day session for singles on Court Philippe Chatrier was completed in exactly four hours, 29 minutes less than Djokovic needed to defeat Italian Lorenzo Musetti in a five-setter overnight.

Scheduling rethink

The late finish has come under criticism, with Swiatek and Gauff saying Grand Slams need a scheduling rethink.

There were more complaints on social media, as fans were left twiddling their thumbs for hours before the night session, where Sinner sent the last local hope Moutet packing.

"I was always one of the players that said that we should start a little bit earlier," said Swiatek of the Djokovic match.

"I don't know if fans are watching these matches, if they have to go to work next day, when the matches are finishing at 2-3am."

Organisers were forced to add a match on the main showcourt before Djokovic played, due to rain delays.

"It's a complicated thing, but for the health and safety of the players, it would be in the sport's best interest to try to avoid those matches finishing - or starting - after a certain time," said Gauff.

Grigor Dimitrov later showed it was never too late to break new ground, as the in-form Bulgarian 10th seed outlasted Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(5) 6-4 7-6(3) to reach his first quarter-final at the French Open and complete his set of Grand Slam last eight appearances.