Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-6 (5-1) Mertens
Make that two mini-breaks. At the moment Mertens is struggling to deal with the relentless power of Pavlyuchenkova, who is two points away from levelling the match.
Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-6 (2-0) Mertens
The first mini-break goes to Pavlyuchenkova, who wins a fine rally with a classy backhand volley.
Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 6-6 Mertens
Pavyluchenkova is probably playing the better tennis now. She holds comfortably, which means Mertens must serve to save the set.
Mertens is in a little bother at 15-30 – but then Pavlyuchenkova nets a relatively straightforward forehand and the mood changes again. Mertens serves out confidently, which takes us to a tie-break.
*Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 5-5 Mertens (*denotes next server)
We’re having a few technical problems – apologies – but you haven’t missed too much, just a hold apiece. The second set, and the match, is reaching crunch point.
Khachanov wins the second set! I’ve no idea what, why or how, as I’m watching the Pavlyuchenkova-Mertens games, but Karin Khachanov is level at one set all with Lorenzo Sonego. Khachanov 1-6, 6-4 Sonego
*Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 4-4 Mertens (*denotes next server)
Pavlyuchenkova has an opening at 15-30, only to make two more unforced errors. She’s displeased about something, and there are a few boos as she chats to the umpire. A long return allows Mertens to hold to 30.
Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 4-3 Mertens* (*denotes next server)
Pavlyuchenkova holds to move ahead in the second set; she’s playing well now. And on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Karen Khachanov is 5-3 up on Lorenzo Sonego.
*Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 3-3 Mertens (*denotes next server)
Moments ago Pavlyuchenkova was on the brink of going two breaks down in the second set; now she’s level! She raced to 0-40, and though Mertens saved the first break point, a smash from Pavlyuchenkova settled matters.
Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 2-3 Mertens* (*denotes next server)
After all that, Pavlyuchenkova holds. She saved at least seven break points, it might have been eight, and is just about still alive in this game. Now she just has to break Mertens.
Khachanov 1-6, 3-2 Sonego In the other game, Khachanov has broken Sonego to go ahead in the second set.
Pavlyuchenkova 3-6 1-3 Mertens
At 0-30, Pavlyuchenkova completely ignores a lob from Mertens, assuming it’s going long – but it lands on the line to give Mertens three break points.
Pavlyuchenkova saves all three, an admirable display of mental strength after such a minor fiasco, and then four more after that. Actually it might be five more, I’ve genuinely lost count. Either way, we’re at deuce.
Mertens holds to love, the first hold of the second set, and now she’s three games away from the quarter-finals.
Women’s singles Pavlyuchenkova broke straight back, but now Mertens has two break points to make it 2-1 in the second set. She needs just one, with Pavlyuchenkova sending a backhand long: Mertens leads 6-3, 2-1
Men’s singles On Suzanne Lenglen, the Italian Lorenzo Sonego has taken the first set 6-1 against the 11th seed Karen Khachanov. The winner of that one will play Novak Djokovic or Juan Pablo Varillas in the quarter-finals.
Mertens breaks! An emphatic forehand seals the deal, and she’s in complete control now.
Elise Mertens has taken the first set 6-3 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and as I type she has two break points in the first game of the second set.
Talking of favourites, here’s a Reuters report on Iga Swiatek’s latest masterclass
Iga Swiatek underlined her credentials as a firm favourite for the French Open title on Saturday after serving up double bagels yet again with a 6-0 6-0 win, but the world number one refused to be swept up in the ‘Iga’s Bakery’ social media craze.
A ruthless Swiatek thrashed Wang Xinyu without dropping a game to cruise into the fourth round, the second time in a month she had won by the same scoreline after beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Rome.
The 22-year-old Pole has dropped only eight games in three matches in Paris this year, while nine opponents have lost at least one set 6-0 to her this year.
Saturday’s result was no different as she beat Wang in 51 minutes. But when a question about “Iga’s Bakery” was put to Swiatek after her victory, her smile vanished before the top seed said she wanted to remain respectful to her opponents.
“Look, I don’t want to really talk about that. I really get why people do that because it’s fun and tennis is entertainment and everything,” Swiatek told reporters.
“But from the players’ point of view, I want to be respectful to my opponents. You don’t see the stuff that is behind the scenes – sometimes it’s not easy to play such matches and sometimes it’s not easy also for the opponents.
“I don’t want to talk about the bakery. Twitter can talk about it, but I’m just going to be focussed on tennis.”
Swiatek will next face Lesia Tsurenko, who lost 6-2 6-0 to her in Rome last month. The Ukrainian described playing the number one as “one of the biggest challenges on tour”.
“I just had a match against her in Rome, which was good just to feel how she’s playing and to feel the speed of her shots,” Tsurenko said. “It was a good lesson for me, so I will try to play better this time.”
Tumaini Carayol’s day seven report
Hello and welcome to live coverage of day eight at Roland Garros. We’ve reached the last 16 in the men’s and women’s singles, and a number of the favourites are in action today: Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men’s, Arnya Sabalenka and Daria Kasatkina in the women’s.
This is the order of play on the main courts, culled absent-mindedly from the news wires.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) v (28) Elise Mertens (Bel)
(3) Novak Djokovic (Ser) v Juan Pablo Varillas (Per)
(1) Carlos Alcaraz Garfia (Spa) v (17) Lorenzo Musetti (Ita)
Sloane Stephens (USA) v (2) Aryna Sabalenka (Blr)
(11) Karen Khachanov (Rus) v Lorenzo Sonego (Ita)
Karolina Muchova (Cze) v Elina Avanesyan (Rus)
Elina Svitolina (Ukr) v (9) Daria Kasatkina (Rus)
Sebastian Ofner (Aut) v (5) Stefanos Tsitsipas (Gre)