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French Open PIX: Zheng knocks out Halep; Tsitsipas survives

Last updated on: May 27, 2022 09:10 IST
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Images from Day 5 of the 2022 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Thursday.

IMAGE: Qinwen Zheng of China celebrates winning her second round match against Simona Halep on Day 5 of the 2022 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, on Thursday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Former world number one Simona Halep crashed out in the second round of the French Open on Thursday as she failed to find a way past the aggressive game of Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen and fell to a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 loss.


Halep, who lifted the trophy at Roland Garros in 2018 before winning Wimbledon the following year, came into the contest on Court Simonne Mathieu having won her only prior meeting against the 19-year-old Zheng in straight sets in Melbourne in January.

The 30-year-old Romanian got off to a flying start by dominating play from the baseline, breezing through the opening set and going up a break before Zheng, ranked 74th in the world took control.

Winners started flowing from the Chinese player's racket as the unforced errors count started soaring for Halep and Zheng did not look back from there on.

IMAGE: Simona Halep seemed to struggle with her breathing during the third set and had her pulse and blood pressure checked on court. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Zheng, who hit 28 winners to her opponent's nine, won eight games in a row to go up 3-0 in the deciding third set and Halep won just one more game in the match.

"I have been working really hard, and it was really nice, that was my best performance. I am happy today," Zheng said in an interview on court.

The Romanian also seemed to struggle with her breathing during the third set and had her pulse and blood pressure checked on court.

Zheng, playing only her second major after making her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open, will meet the winner of the match between local hope Alize Cornet and former champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the third round.

Tsitsipas survives tough Kolar test

IMAGE: Stefanos Tsitsipas found himself down four set points in the tiebreaker but the Greek found a way to save them all before converting his second match point after four hours and six minutes against Czech qualifier Zdenek Kolar. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Stefanos Tsitsipas was again made to work hard for victory, the Greek fourth seed overcoming Czech qualifier Zdenek Kolar 6-3 7-6(8) 6-7(3) 7-6(7) in a marathon match on Thursday to move into the French Open third round.

Two days after the 23-year-old Tsitsipas came from two sets down to beat Italian Lorenzo Musetti at the claycourt Grand Slam, there was another nail-biter for the 2021 finalist.

The match appeared headed for a deciding set when Tsitsipas found himself down four set points in the tiebreaker but the Greek found a way to save them all before converting his second match point after four hours and six minutes.

Tsitsipas slammed his racket down in frustration after forcing an error from Kolar as the crowd erupted in appreciation.

"He drove me crazy. It was really frustrating," Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview.

"He was putting every part of his body behind the ball. I'd like to congratulate him for this effort."

Kolar made his main draw debut at Roland Garros this year after losing in the qualifiers the last four times and pulled off his first tour-level victory over Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the opening round.

In his first clash with Kolar, Tsitsipas made a strong start on Court Suzanne Lenglen to bag the opening set in 35 minutes but he was soon forced to play catchup with the 134th-ranked Czech racing to a 4-1 lead in the second.

But the Greek, who won the first two sets of the 2021 French Open final before going down to world number one Novak Djokovic, went up a gear to level before taking the second set after a long tiebreaker.

The 25-year-old Kolar showed big heart and with vocal support from the crowd supporting the underdog, he stayed in touch with Tsitsipas in the third set and dominated the tiebreaker to force a fourth.

After trading service breaks through the set, Kolar was a point away from forcing a fifth but was unable to convert his chances in the tiebreaker.

Tsitsipas will meet 95th-ranked Mikael Ymer of Sweden for a place in the fourth round.

Collins crashes out

IMAGE: Shelby Rogers celebrates winning her match against Danielle Rogers. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

American ninth seed Danielle Collins was knocked out in a 6-4, 6-3 defeat to fellow countrywoman Shelby Rogers in the second round.

Collins' exit means only three of the top 10 seeds remain in Paris -- Iga Swiatek (1), Paula Badosa (3) and Aryna Sabalenka (7).

Swiatek eases past Riske

IMAGE: Iga Swiatek outclassed Alison Riske to continue her unbeaten run. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

World number one and 2020 champion Iga Swiatek reached the third round with a dominant 6-0, 6-2 win over American Alison Riske.

Swiatek, the favourite to win the title in Paris, is on a 30-match unbeaten streak.

Frenchman Simon bags 500th career win

IMAGE: Gilles Simon is the third Frenchman in Open Era to reach the landmark of 500 career wins. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

France's Gilles Simon celebrated his 500th career win by beating American Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(6) in the second round.

The 37-year-old, who is playing in his final French Open, becomes the third Frenchman in Open Era to reach the landmark after Richard Gasquet (574) and Gael Monfils (523).

Elastic man Medvedev through to Round 3

IMAGE: Daniil Medvedev in action during his second round match Laslo Dere of Serbia. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Daniil Medvedev still has issues with claycourt tennis, but the world number two cantered into the French Open third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win against Serbian Laslo Djere on Thursday.

The Russian, who reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros last year after four consecutive first-round exits, struggled at times but his elasticity eventually made up for his lack of natural ability to move around on the slow surface.

Medvedev found himself down a break in the first set but his brilliant defence helped him claw his way back both times on court Philippe Chatrier.

He will next meet 28th seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia.

Medvedev, who won the US Open last year and was runner-up at the Australian Open this season, arrived at the French Open with only one match on clay under his belt after undergoing a procedure to treat a hernia in April.

A string of early unforced errors gave Djere a break in the first game, but Medvedev moved up a gear to win five games in a row and take control of the contest as his opponent appeared to be struggling physically.

IMAGE: Daniil Medvedev said he was fortunate to escape with a straight sets win. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

The Russian broke decisively for 5-4 in the second set and there was no coming back for world number 56 Djere, who bowed out on the first match point when he netted a routine backhand.

Medvedev's win was enjoyed by the Roland Garros crowd, who have made him one of their favourites for his ability to speak almost fluent French - a talent he likes to play with.

"I'm really disappointed, I thought you would speak French with the French crowd," he told courtside interviewer and three-time Roland Garros champion Mats Wilander.

"You have to improve in French... I'm joking," he added with a smile.

Commenting on the match, Medvedev said he was fortunate to escape with a straight sets win.

"Today he (Djere) played maybe better claycourt tennis but I managed to play better on the important points," the 26-year-old said.

"It's very difficult. I tried to make him play a little bit more. Maybe he had cramps or an injury and he took the ball early and so he either made a mistake or a winner.

"One break is nothing on clay and if he had broken back the pain would maybe have gone away," the Russian added.

Badosa needs three sets to oust Juvan

IMAGE: Paula Badosa celebrates winning her second round match against Slovenia's Kaja Juvan. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Third seed Paula Badosa outlasted Slovenia's Kaja Juvan before making sure of a third round spot with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 victory at the French Open on Thursday.

Badosa, a former junior champion in Paris, was made to work much harder than in her opening round where she had spent less than an hour on court.

"It was a very touch match and I expected a match like this," Badosa said. "I still need matches here to feel a little bit better."

"I was nervous and stressed. She was running, getting all the balls. In that moment I tried to stay as calm as possible and play aggressively."

The 24-year-old, who is left-handed but plays with her right, did not need long to take control, breaking Juvan in the very first game and racing to a 3-0 lead.

But the Spaniard had to fight to win the set when the Slovenian battled back from 5-2 to level.

Juvan kept trying to throw Badosa off her game plan.

She pinned the Spaniard, who has made the second week on both her previous main-draw appearances at Roland Garros, to the baseline and then hit drop shots, a total of 25 in the first two sets alone.

Her strategy paid off when she broke Badosa, the world number four, to go 4-2 up and bag the second set.

Another break put her in front at the start of the third but Badosa then took control, powering through the next four consecutive games to clinch the decider and set up a third-round clash with Russian Veronika Kudermetova.

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