French Open: Novak Djokovic in the third round; Carlos Alcaraz recovers from a match point to progress | Tennis News


Novak Djokovic is qualified for the third round of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic won his second round match in straight sets as he seeks to defend his French Open title in Paris, while Carlos Alcaraz is also through after surviving a match point in an epic five sets.

World number one Djokovic, playing his first major of the year, hit 40 winners and 10 aces in a determined performance on the Suzanne-Lenglen court as he beat Alex Molcan 6-2 6-3 7-6 .

Molcan managed to push Djokovic to a third-set tie-break, but he threw his racquet away in frustration after knocking the ball into the net. That error offered Djokovic match point, and he duly closed it.

World No. 195 Aljaz Bedene awaits the defending champion, a player Djokovic has never lost against.

“Well, so far so good,” Djokovic said after his second-round win. “I’m happy with the way I feel on the pitch, the way I hit the ball.

“I also think today was in those kind of difficult conditions and I was playing against a specialist on clay, someone who is a tricky opponent. It was never going to be an easy game, but I think I performed very well.

“Everything is going in the right direction. I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”

Alcaraz, meanwhile, the in-form of 2022 having won four titles and reached sixth in the world rankings, had a more difficult path to the third round, with the 19-year-old surviving a match point in the fourth set and slipping 3-0 in the deciding match before beating fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Alcaraz came through the first 6-1 but then lost the second 7-6 and slipped two sets to one when Ramos-Vinolas won the third 7-5.

The teenager, 15 years younger than his rival, saved match point in the 10th game of the fourth set and eventually took it in the tiebreaker, as he rallied after a poor start in the fifth and last set to win it 6-4 and set a third round encounter with either Sebastian Korda or Richard Gasquet.

Zverev releases five-set thriller

Alexander Zverev came back to win in straight sets for the third time in his career

Alexander Zverev came back to win in straight sets for the third time in his career

Alexander Zverev saved a match point before beating Sebastian Baez 2-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 7-5 in a thrilling duel on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The two players battled for three hours and 36 minutes, with Zverev having to use every ounce of his experience to overtake his 21-year-old opponent.

Baez, who is ranked 36th in the world, created his match point opportunity on Zverev’s serve, but the German released a big first serve to erase it and took control from that point.

“I told him what he feels now is the worst you can feel on a tennis court,” Zverev said of his trade with Baez at net.

“It was such an amazing match. I know how it feels because I lost the US Open final after being two sets to love. I was two points away from winning it and lost 7-6 in the fifth.

“You’re always getting better. I wish him nothing but the best, he’s an incredibly brilliant lad and he’s going to do a lot of great things in this sport.”

Zverev, who was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year, will face American Brandon Nakashima in the third round.

Sakkari eliminated, Gauff and Azarenka progress

Maria Sakkari suffered a defeat in straight sets

Maria Sakkari suffered a defeat in straight sets

Maria Sakkari became the last seed in the women’s draw to be eliminated after a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) loss to Karolina Muchova.

Sakkari, a semi-finalist in Paris last year, never found her rhythm on the Suzanne-Lenglen court and her opponent took the risks available to her.

The Greek follows Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur (6) and defending champion Barbora Krejcikova (2) in leaving the tournament after leaving in the first round.

Coco Gauff advanced to the third round beating Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

The 18-year-old is trying to improve on her run in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros last year, which is her best Grand Slam result.

Gauff fell behind twice in the second set but fell back each time. The American then forced three fouls on Van Uytvanck in the tie-break.

Gauff is the youngest player remaining in the draw and celebrated her high school graduation this week with photos at the Eiffel Tower.

Victoria Azarenka will meet Jil Teichmann in the third round

Victoria Azarenka will meet Jil Teichmann in the third round

Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-1 7-6 (7-3) in her second-round match.

Azarenka, who is the 15th seed, produced a clear game by only making 13 unforced errors to Petkovic’s 42. She has won the Australian Open twice and was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2013.

While US Open champion Emma Raducanu lost in the second round to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, her opponent in the final at Flushing Meadows – Leylah Fernandez – prevailed against Katerina Siniakova 6-3 6-2.

Fernandez is asked to delve deeper into the tournament, although she said: “Honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard of this.

“But I only focus on my own game. I tried to improve my game every day, trying to get to a level where I think it’s deemed to be here at the top level.

“I think my team and I were doing a good job, just trying to get better every day and not thinking about wins and losses or outside voices.”

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