The surprises keep coming in the women's draw as defending champion Maria Sharapova fell in straight sets to Lucie Safarova. Safarova is a quality player, but she was surely helped out by Sharapova's struggle with a cold throughout the tournament. Also going down was the women's fourth seed, Petra Kvitova, who was beaten by Timea Bacsinszky.
Curse of the Defending Champion
With Sharapova's loss, no woman has defended her French Open title since Justine Henin did so for the last time in 2007. The curse—if one exists—apparently doesn't extend to the men, since Rafael Nadal hasn't failed to defend his title since 2009.
Surprise Women's Finalist
With the quarterfinals set, the bottom half of the women's draw is set to produce a surprise finalist. The most heralded player remaining in that half is former champion Ana Ivanovic, who hasn't been to a Slam final since she won here in 2008.
Fun Stats from Twitterland
@bobbychin noted that Serena Williams has earned $68 million in career prize money, while the rest of the Roland Garros quarterfinalists combined have earned $37 million.
@kfish_WTA (WTA stats guru Kevin Fischer) tweeted out Roland Garros 2015 is the third Slam in the last four in which two or fewer of the top eight women's seeds have reached the quarterfinals.
@AnnaK_4ever shared that this year's Roland Garros is the first since 1999 in which no Russian male or female made it to the singles quarterfinals.
And Then There Were Eight
The men's and women's singles draws are both down to eight players still vying for the chance to raise the championship trophy. I'll spare everyone the full-fledged breakdown, but here's a few words on each matchup:
Djokovic v. Nadal
This quarterfinal matchup has probably been the most hyped match since the draw first came out. Nadal's slide to number seven in the world made this early meeting possible and it is a blockbuster. History favors Nadal (who leads the head-to-head 23-20 AND has nine French Open titles), but Djokovic has been the stronger player this year.
Williams v. Errani
Serena Williams has looked subpar throughout the tournament, needing three sets in three of her four matches. Opposing her is feisty Sara Errani, who is a former finalist at Roland Garros. Unfortunately, Errani has an 0-7 record against top-ranked Williams and lacks the firepower to do the kind of damage needed.
Murray v. Ferrer
David Ferrer is tennis' hardest working grinder, but Andy Murray's defensive skills may actually be even better. Ferrer has never lost to Murray on clay, but the Scot has the edge with greater variety and a bigger game—if he decides to use it.
Bacsinszky v. Van Uytvanck
Never heard of either of these ladies? You're probably not alone; these two weren't exactly high profile picks to meet in the quarterfinals. Still, Timea Bacsinszky is having something of a career renaissance. She's near her career high ranking and she's playing excellent tennis in 2015 with a 27-6 record plus 2 singles titles.
Nishikori v. Tsonga
Kei Nishikori seems to have found his groove and he's packed some good results in this year. Tsonga, on the other hand, had only played 11 matches coming into Roland Garros, and he lost 5 of them. He looked like a powerful opponent when he dispatched Tomas Berdych (aside from a third set hiccup) and he'll have the crowd on his side, but it's hard to imagine a 30 year old Tsonga getting past Nishikori.
Ivanovic v. Svitolina
Ana Ivanovic is the veteran here while Elina Svitolina is the rising star. That being said, Ivanovic's "glory days" are pretty far back in the rearview mirror. She won here in 2008 and hasn't been in a Grand Slam final since. As long as Ivanovic can stay mentally tough, there's no reason she can't book her spot in the semis, especially since she's never lost to Svitolina in six matches.
Wawrinka v. Federer
These two Swiss Davis Cup teammates have played 18 times, and Wawrinka usually comes up short to the tune of a 2-16 record against his countryman. Federer has been more prone to shock upsets in the last few years, but he's already got his teeth deep into this tournament and his aggressive play has paid dividends.
Muguruza v. Safarova
This one might be the hardest to predict. The pair have never played each other. Muguruza seems hungry, but Safarova definitely comes in with the experience edge. This is perhaps the most compelling, competitive matchup in the quarterfinals.