» Sports » French Open PIX: Big three advance; Barty retires

French Open PIX: Big three advance; Barty retires

Last updated on: June 04, 2021 09:54 IST
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Images from Day 5 of the 2021 French Open, in Paris, on Thursday.

Roger Federer

IMAGE: Roger Federer argues with chair umpire umpire Emmanuel Joseph during his second round match against Marin Cilic at Roland Garros in Paris. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Roger Federer lost his trademark cool but found some vintage tennis as he beat Marin Cilic 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 to move into the third round of the French Open on Thursday.


The 39-year-old Swiss brushed Cilic aside with majestic ease in the first set but lost the second after a heated debate with the chair umpire over the time he was taking to towel down before Cilic served knocked him out of his stride.

Twice Federer has played big-serving Cilic in Grand Slam finals, winning both, and the duo's 11th career meeting produced some high-octane tennis in a pivotal third set.

Cilic looked dangerous when he battled back from a break down but Federer raised his game in the tiebreak to move ahead.

A Cilic double fault gifted eighth-seed Federer a break for 3-1 in the fourth set and he finished it in ruthless fashion.

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who had played only three matches in 17 months coming into Roland Garros, closed out the contest in clinical fashion to set up a third-round against Germany's 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer.

Roger Federer

IMAGE: Roger Federer was in scintillating form, moving effortlessly around the Parisian clay and striking 47 winners to the 43 of Marin Cilic. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Even for a player of Federer's sublime talents, the level he has reached in his opening two rounds has surprised a few, given the lack of tennis he has played since the 2020 Australian Open.

More unexpected was the sight of Federer being given a slow play warning by umpire Emmanuel Joseph in the fifth game of the second set when Cilic was serving with a break at 3-1.

The Croatian was ready to serve down one of his bombs but Federer was not in position, having walked to the side of the court to wipe some sweat away with his towel.

Joseph warned Federer for a time violation, prompting an animated debate in French between the two.

At one point Federer, who rarely wastes time on court, asked Cilic, "Am I playing too slow?".

Cilic managed to hold serve for a 4-1 lead, having saved three break points, with Federer spending the entire changeover in further discussions with Joseph.

"Marin was upset with me because he wanted to serve at me without me being in position," Federer told Eurosport.

"With the towels being on either side I'm a bit confused how I'm supposed to do it. I know you are supposed to play at the server's pace but was I have to question was it Marin pushing me a little bit to play extremely fast, or was I playing extremely slow? I'm sorry if I did but I wanted a proper explanation."

That dip aside Federer was in scintillating form, moving effortlessly around the Parisian clay and striking 47 winners to the 43 of Cilic whose win-loss record against Federer is now 1-10.

After Cilic broke back for 3-3 in the third set with a screaming forehand return, neither player dropped set on serve for the next six games and the tiebreak always looked like being crucial.

Cilic double-faulted early in it to hand Federer the initiative and from there only one outcome looked likely.

Nadal demolishes Gasquet to reach third round

Rafael Nadal in action during his 2nd round match against Richard Gasquet

IMAGE: Rafael Nadal in action during his 2nd round match against Richard Gasquet. Photograph: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Claycourt machine Rafael Nadal celebrated his 35th birthday by handing his long-time pal Richard Gasquet a 6-0, 7-5, 6-2 masterclass as he stormed into the third round of the French Open on Thursday.

Thirteen-time Roland Garros champion Nadal showed no mercy as he demolished the Frenchman for the 17th time in as many professional encounters.

Gasquet beat Nadal in the semi-finals of the Under-14 Tournoi des Petits As in 1999, but since then has always emerged second best in their encounters.

The Spaniard has never been troubled by the Frenchman's single-handed backhand and produced a ruthless display as he took a step closer in his pursuit of a men's record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic strolls into third round

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his second round match against Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his second round match against Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

World number one Novak Djokovic put on a clinical display to stroll past Uruguyan Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday and reach the third round of the French Open.

Cuevas, ranked 92nd, showed flashes of resistance against the 34-year-old Serbian but the top seed raised his game when he needed to and produced some sublime winners off his backhand to keep alive his chase for a 19th Grand Slam title.

Djokovic broke Cuevas's serve a second time to go up 5-3 in the opening set but found himself 0-40 down on his own serve.

The Serbian, however, grabbed the next five points to seal the lead on a sunlit Suzanne Lenglen court.

The 35-year-old Cuevas's challenge fell away as Djokovic broke his opponent's serve three more times to complete the win and set up a clash against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis, who beat Australian James Duckworth 7-5 2-6 7-6(4) 6-0.

Swiatek cruises into third round

Poland's Iga Swiatek plays a backhand return against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson

IMAGE: Poland's Iga Swiatek plays a backhand return against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Defending champion Iga Swiatek said she felt like she could do anything she wanted with ball after reaching the French Open third round with an ominous 6-1 6-1 demolition of Rebecca Peterson on Thursday.

The 20-year-old needed only 61 minutes to overwhelm Peterson, the only Swede in the women's draw, sending out a clear message to those wanting to snatch the title.

Swiatek, who took Roland Garros by storm last October to become the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title, led 5-0 in both sets in a near-perfect display full of power, flair and control.

Even a dip in temperature on Court Simonne-Mathieu and some drops of rain could not slow down Swiatek's onslaught as she set up a clash with 30th seed Anett Kontaveit who as equally impressive in thrashing Kristina Mladenovic.

"I felt like I had would have a good day today since I woke up this morning, I knew I'm going to be in the right mood," Swiatek told reporters.

"I did my routines before the match. Then when I was on the court, I just felt the ball perfectly. I felt like I could do anything with it. So I'm pretty happy that I had this attitude right now."

The burden of being the defending champion at a Grand Slam has overwhelmed many players more experienced than Swiatek.

But so far she appears completely comfortable in the role and with so many big names already out, she looks to be the favourite.

"At the Australian Open I didn't actually know how I'm going to react to my new situation," she said. "I was more nervous and more stressed.

"I just realised that I can actually play without any expectations, because there are many stories when after going to a tournament as a defending champion players have some issues. I just told myself, there may be a situation that you're not gonna play as well as you did last couple of years in Paris, so just, relax and we're gonna see what's gonna happen."

In her third main draw appearance at the French Open, Swiatek says a little local knowledge also helps.

"I know some places here when I can actually rest," she said. The first two years I was confused. I didn't know where to go. Right now I feel like home."

World No 1 Barty retires with injury

IMAGE: World number one Ash Barty of Australia leaves the court after retiring from her second round match against Magda Linette of Poland. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Earlier, women's world number one Ash Barty of Australia retired from her second round match against Poland's Magda Linette with an injury.

The 2019 champion, who was trailing 6-1, 2-2 against Linette, started the second-round match with taping on her left thigh, having said earlier that she suffered a flare-up through her left hip during the weekend.

The 25-year-old's return to Roland Garros ended in disappointment after she opted to not defend her title last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barty had faced problems with her movement on court on Tuesday during the opening round against Bernarda Pera but her physical condition improved against the American after receiving medical attention before the deciding set.

The top-seeded Australian called the trainer on court once again on Thursday after the first set, which she lost in just 27 minutes, hoping to be able to play on after receiving help.

Barty returned to Philippe Chatrier court after the medical timeout and played four more games before deciding she could no longer continue.

Gauff in French Open third round for first time

Coco Gauff of the United States plays a backhand during her women's second round match against Qiang Wang of China

IMAGE: Coco Gauff of the United States plays a backhand during her women's second round match against China’s Qiang Wang. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Coco Gauff reached the third round of the French Open for the first time as the 17-year-old American battled past China's Wang Qiang 6-3 7-6(1) on Thursday.

Gauff eased through the opening set after jumping out to a 3-0 lead but did not have things her own way after that against the player she beat to win the Parma title last month.

Former world number 12 Qiang served for the second set at 5-3 but was broken and then had a set point on the Gauff serve after the American double-faulted.

But 24th-seeded Gauff showed great resilience to take the set into a tiebreak that she never looked like losing.

After two straight-sets wins she will now face either Fiona Ferro or fellow American Jennifer Brady in the last 32.

Svitolina breezes past Li

IMAGE: Elina Svitolina, seeking her maiden Grand Slam title, outclassed American Ann Li to enter the third round. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

World number six Elina Svitolina wasted little time in advancing to the third round of the French Open with a 6-0, 6-4 demolition of American Ann Li.

Svitolina, seeking her maiden Grand Slam title, stormed out of the blocks to break Li's serve in the opening game before dictating play from the baseline to consolidate her lead.

World number 75 Li struggled to create opportunities to break the 26-year-old Ukrainian, who won 12 of her 14 first-serve points to claim an opening-set bagel in just 29 minutes on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Li got on the scoreboard early in the second set and opened up a surprise 3-0 lead with a string of blistering forehands.

But Svitolina soon found another gear as she reeled off five straight games to book a place in the third round in an hour and 14 minutes.

Kenin reaches third round

IMAGE: 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin suffered a dip in concentration and allowed her opponent to win three consecutive games before regaining her composure to wrap it up in straight sets. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Last year's runner-up Sofia Kenin eased into the third round of the French Open with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over fellow American Hailey Baptiste as her claycourt form continued to improve.

The fourth seed, who has been struggling this season, notably losing all of her three matches on clay before Roland Garros, will next face another American, 28th seed Jessica Pegula.

Kenin made 18 unforced errors in an unconvincing first-set display but broke decisively in the 11th game as she bagged seven games in a row to open up a 4-0 lead in the second.

The 2020 Australian Open champion, however, suffered a dip in concentration and allowed her opponent to win three consecutive games before regaining her composure to wrap it up in straight sets on Court 14.

Spanish teenager Alcaraz eases into French Open third round

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz

IMAGE: Spain's Carlos Alcaraz. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Spanish prospect Carlos Alcaraz reached his first Grand Slam third round when he beat Georgian 28th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday.

With a self-confidence belying his 18 years of age, Alcaraz peppered Court 14 with 27 winners in a one-sided encounter.

World number 97 Alcaraz, the youngest player in the top 100 of the ATP rankings, reached the second round of a major at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Coached by 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alcaraz will be looking to further improve his Grand Slam record when he faces German Jan-Lennard Struff on Saturday.

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