Djokovic makes 3rd round in Paris

AFP
Former champion Novak Djokovic reached the French Open third round for the 13th consecutive year by beating Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-4 yesterday.
AFP
Reuters

Serena Williams (left) and Venus Williams in action against Japan’s Shuko Aoyama and Miyu Kato during their French Open women’s doubles first-round match at Roland Garros in Paris yesterday. The American sisters won 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 over their 14th-seeded opponents. The duo last competed at a major tournament together at Wimbledon in 2016. They won their 14th Grand Slam title in women’s doubles at the All England Club in London. This return to doubles came a day after new-mom Serena, clad in a black bodysuit that drew much praise from fans, participated in Grand Slam singles for the first time in 16 months, winning her first-round match at Roland Garros against Kristyna Pliskova 7-6 (4), 6-4. Venus, however, lost in the first round of the singles on Sunday. 

Former champion Novak Djokovic reached the French Open third round for the 13th consecutive year by beating Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-4 yesterday, while women’s top seed Simona Halep battled to victory in her opening match.

Djokovic, the 2016 Roland Garros champion and former world No. 1, is seeded 20 this year after struggling to rediscover his best form following a return from a right elbow injury.

He wasn’t at his best on Court Suzanne Lenglen, but goes on to face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the last 16.

The Serbian 12-time Grand Slam champion fired 39 winners but had 33 unforced errors and was broken three times by Munar, the world No. 155.

“I am very happy to be here on Suzanne Lenglen and see so many people and see the support,” said Djokovic.

“Jaume is a great player, he has lots of quality and good concentration. I congratulate him on a great match today.”

Bautista Agut, the 13th seed, saw off Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 7-5, 6-3, but Czech 17th seed Tomas Berdych lost a rain-interrupted first-round match to home hope Jeremy Chardy on the showpiece Court Philippe Chatrier 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 6-1, 7-5, 2-6.

The unlikely adventure of world No. 190 Marco Trungelliti, who became the eighth lucky loser in the draw after driving back to Paris from Barcelona, came to an end as the Argentine lost 1-6, 6-7 (1), 1-6 to Italian Marco Cecchinato in the second round.

World No. 1 Halep fought back after a disastrous opening set to beat American Alison Riske 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in their delayed first-round match.

Halep, the runner-up in Paris in 2014 and 2017, slumped 0-5 down in the first set to world No. 83 Riske whose only win at the tournament came in 2014.

The Romanian committed 16 unforced errors in the set but stepped up a gear from that point on to book a second-round match against another American Taylor Townsend.

“It’s always difficult in the first round of a Grand Slam, you are always nervous,” said Halep.

The 26-year-old, who is still looking for a first Grand Slam title, will play for the second straight day today, after the match with Riske was pushed back from Tuesday due to rain.

“I think I’ll be ready tomorrow, I feel strong in my legs,” said the top seed. “Anything can happen with the rain so all we can do is rest and try to be at our best when we step on the court.”

Halep needs to reach the semifinals or better if she is to retain the world top spot.

Eighth seed Petra Kvitova eased into the third round with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena on Court One.

The two-time Wimbledon champion has now won 13 consecutive matches on clay after claiming titles in Prague and Madrid, and will face Estonia’s 25th seed Anett Kontaveit for a place in the last 16.

Czech Kvitova, 28, has not reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros since a run to the last four in 2012.

Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina reached the last 32 for the fourth straight year by brushing aside Viktoria Kuzmova in straight sets.

The 23-year-old, who arrived in Paris having won her second straight Italian Open title, saw off the Slovakian 6-3, 6-4.

Svitolina, a two-time quarter-finalist at Roland Garros, will next take on Romanian 31st seed Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Elsewhere, Japanese 21st seed Naomi Osaka came through a tight match with Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas 6-4, 7-5.

The 20-year-old Osaka is seeded for the first time at a major tournament, having lifted the prestigious Indian Wells title earlier this year before beating Serena Williams in Miami the following week.

China’s Wang Qiang brushed aside Petra Martic of Croatia, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the third round.


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