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When Mirra Andreeva steps out on Philippe Chatrier on Wednesday, she will have the unenviable task of beating Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka but the Russian 17-year-old is a player with ice in her veins, unfazed by the grand occasion.

The teenager showed composure that belied her youth when she tuned out the noise and the occasional boos to dispatch France’s last hope in Varvara Gracheva to earn a quarter-final clash against Sabalenka.

As the only unseeded player left in the tournament, Andreeva is an underdog in the truest sense with nothing to lose at Roland Garros where all the top four seeds are predicted to reach the semi-finals.

But having already knocked out a former Grand Slam champion in Victoria Azarenka and dropping only one set so far, Andreeva’s secret ingredient to staying cool on the court is not just calming her mind but emptying it.

“When we talk about the match, about the plan, about tactics, I listen. But honestly, I don’t remember anything after,” said Andreeva, who is coached by former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez. “I don’t have anything in my head when we start playing the match. I just go there and I’m like, ‘Well, we’ll see. I’ll figure it out.’ That’s how I always play. I think maybe this helps me a little bit.

“I’m not really worried about my plan or about the way I will play or about the way my opponent will play. I just go and I play and I see what happens. I can adjust something during the match.”

However, Sabalenka has beaten her in both their meetings on clay and Andreeva knows she must make adjustments if she is to take a set off the Belarusian for the first time.

“We will change something, because the way I played last two times didn’t work… I don’t have anything in my head, so I hope my coach will help me with it,” she added. “She’s a player of another level, so I have to be prepared from the beginning.”

Wide open draw

With men’s top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic pulling out of the tournament due to a knee injury after two gruelling five-setters, the top half of the draw has been blown wide open.

His quarter-final opponent Casper Ruud will have an extra day off to kick his feet up but the Norwegian will keep an eye on the match between Alexander Zverev and Alex De Minaur to see who his semi-final opponent will be.

Australian De Minaur is enjoying his best run at Roland Garros where he had never gone past the second round until this year and beat fifth seed Daniil Medvedev to reach the quarter-finals.

“I always thought that to play well on clay I needed hot, lively conditions. But this whole tournament has proven otherwise.

Gauff beats Jabeur to reach French Open semi-finals

It’s been a complete shock to the system, to everything I ever believed in,“ De Minaur said. “But now it looks like it’s one of my best slam results.

Looks like I’ve converted myself into a clay specialist!“ The first quarter-final of the day will have fourth seed Elena Rybakina facing Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, who has not beaten the big-serving Kazakh in a completed match.


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