'This is crazy': Tennis fans rage at 'disgraceful' French Open farce

Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here playing their French Open quarter-final in an empty stadium.
Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas were forced to play their French Open quarter-final in an empty stadium. Image: Tennis Podcast/Twitter

Tennis fans were left raging on Tuesday when the high-profile quarter-final clash between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open was robbed of all atmosphere because of a controversial curfew.

The 2021 edition of the French Open is using a night session for the very first time, however fans haven't been allowed to attend the majority of night matches.

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A 9pm curfew implemented due to Covid-19 restrictions has seen fans asked to leave Roland Garros either before or during all night matches.

Fans have been grumbling all week that some of the biggest matches have been robbed of a live crowd, with many questioning why a night session is needed at all.

And the controversy reared its ugly head again on Tuesday when Medvedev and Tsitsipas took the court in an empty Court Philippe-Chatrier for their quarter-final clash.

Fans flocked to social media to complain about the lack of atmosphere for the clash between the World No.2 and World No.5.

"It's a f***ing disgrace by the tournament to play a match like Tsitsipas v Medvedev in front of no fans," one wrote.

It was so quiet in the stadium that Medvedev even stopped play at one stage because some workers were making too much noise and distracting him.

Some social media users questioned why 5000 spectators were allowed to attend France's football friendly with Bulgaria just 13 kilometres away.

Tsitsipas to face Zverev in French Open semi-final

Even worse for fans, there was a two-hour gap before the Medvedev-Tsitsipas clash after Alexander Zverev destroyed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in just one hour and 36 minutes in the first quarter-final.

Tsitsipas went on to reach the French Open semi-finals for the second year in a row, beating Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (3), 7-5.

The 22-year-old from Greece moved into his fourth grand slams semi-final. He is 0-3 so far, including a loss at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic in 2020.

Tsitsipas will face World No.6 Zverev on Friday for a berth in the final.

Medvedev went up a break in the third set, but Tsitsipas got even and then broke after being down 40-love in the last game to end it.

He closed his victory with a passing shot winner off a return when Medvedev went toward the net behind an underarm serve on match point.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Alexander Zverev, pictured here shaking hands after their quarter-final clash at the French Open.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Alexander Zverev shake hands after their quarter-final clash at the French Open. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Earlier, Zverev moved a step closer to becoming the youngest man in a decade to lift a grand slam singles title as he swept past Davidovich Fokina 6-4 6-1 6-1.

Zverev appears to be at last really punching his weight in the men's game and had too much power and know-how for the 22-year-old Spaniard.

He made it clear on court afterwards that he felt the win was just a stepping stone for him as he hopes to become, at 24 years 54 days, the youngest men's grand slam singles winner since Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon 2011.

"Obviously, it's very nice to be in the semi-finals but just being here doesn't satisfy me," he said.

"I know I'm playing pretty okay and I hope I can continue playing the same way, maybe even better in the semi-finals and we'll see what it holds."

with agencies

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