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French Open PIX: Swiatek, Ruud, Rybakina advance into 3rd Round

Last updated on: June 02, 2023 09:41 IST
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IMAGES from Day 5 of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Thursday.

Iga Swiatek

IMAGE: Poland's Iga Swiatek in action during her second round match against Claire Liu of the US. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Defending champion Iga Swiatek overcame a minor blip to secure her spot in the third round of the French Open with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over American Claire Liu on Thursday.

The world number one, looking to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup for the third time in four years, started strongly before briefly struggling on Court Philippe Chatrier.

With several sponsors seats empty in the middle of the afternoon, the Pole picked herself up quickly to end Liu's campaign in brutal fashion.

"It' not easy when you play with the wind and change sides to play against it. I'm happy I raised my level in the second set," said Swiatek, who turned 22 on Wednesday.

"Patience is important, especially on clay."

Swiatek raced to a 3-0 lead on a sunbathed court Philippe Chatrier but she looked too much in a hurry and Liu pulled one of two breaks back as the Pole briefly lost her focus.

Liu levelled for 3-3 but dropped serve again as Swiatek bagged the opening set.

She did not look back, ending her opponent's ordeal on the second match point with a backhand winner down the line.

Swiatek next faces China's Wang Xinyu.

Rybakina marches past Noskova into third round

Elena Rybakina

IMAGE: Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in action during her second round match against Czech Republic's Linda Noskova. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina booked her third round spot with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over rising Czech teenager Linda Noskova, confirming her status as one of the front-runners for the title.

The Wimbledon champion, who also reached this year's Australian Open final, did not take long to pull away with a break in the third game when Noskova, ranked 50th, fired a backhand into the net.


But the 18-year-old, no stranger to the Paris clay after winning the French Open junior title two years, refused to go down without a fight but paid the price for some risky plays and a double fault on her serve at 40-40 and 5-3 down.

Linda Noskova

IMAGE: Czech Republic's Linda Noskova reacts. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

Rybakina, a member of the new 'Big three' along with fellow title contenders, world number one Iga Swiatek and second seed Aryna Sabalenka, struggled with Noskova's powerful serve and thundering forehand.

It was instead Noskova who carved out two break points at 3-3 but Rybakina, who won the title at Indian Wells and Rome this season while also reaching the final at the Miami Open, saved them both.

She responded in kind at the very next game to break Noskova and go 5-3 up before clinching the match with an ace on her fourth match point.

Ruud stops Zeppieri to roll into third round

Casper Rudd

IMAGE: Norway's Casper Ruud celebrates winning his second round match against Italy's Giulio Zeppieri. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Last year's runner-up Casper Ruud turned on the style at the French Open before the fourth seed showed steel to quell Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 and move into the third round.

The Norwegian brought a touch of flair to Court Philippe Chatrier in classy blue pinstriped shorts and barely fluffed his lines early on, forcing an inexperienced Zeppieri into a corner by badgering him from the baseline.

Ruud's performance on clay this year has ebbed and flowed but the Estoril champion made quick work of the first set under the Parisian sun after being gifted the decisive break when Zeppieri blasted a forehand long.

The world number four raced through the next set to double his advantage as the left-handed Zeppieri sprayed the errors in a nervy display before regaining composure to peg Ruud back.

Ruud's superb court coverage ensured he broke for a 3-2 lead in the fourth set but Zeppieri struck back to level at 5-5 with a fiery inside-out winner, only to surrender serve immediately and allow Ruud to close out the victory.

Sinner knocked out after wasting match points

IMAGE: Jack Sinner reacts after losing to Daniel Altmaier. Photographs: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

Jannik Sinner wasted two match points as he was knocked out of the French Open 6-7(0) 7-6(7) 1-6 7-6(4) 7-5 in a second round thriller against German Daniel Altmaier on Thursday.

The red-haired Italian, who is often cheered on by six fans dressed as carrots - the Carota boys - and was spotted eating carrots as an on-court snack in Vienna, was not his dominant self as he bowed out after five hours 26 minutes.

Eighth-seeded Sinner, whose best performance at Roland Garros came in 2020 when he lost in the quarter-finals against Rafael Nadal, looked set for a no-nonsense win after cruising through the third set but Altmaier had other ideas.

While Sinner's hard-hitting approach works on hard courts, he struggles on the slowest surface, which proves more challenging, and he was eventually worn down by the world number 79, who won on his fifth match point on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

"Usually I'm smiling inside and that was not the case today, my attitude was not right, I did things I don't usually do," Sinner, who at one point smashed his racket onto the court - very rare behaviour from him - told a press conference.

"This year I have this goal to qualify for (the ATP Finals in) Turin and maybe I put too much pressure on myself, having this objective. So maybe I need to change my mindset."

German, Alexander Zverev, eased into round three by making light work of Slovakian Alex Molcan 6-4 6-2 6-1, looking increasingly closer to the form that took him to the semi-finals in Paris last year when he retired with a serious ankle injury.

Next for the 22nd seed is American 12th seed Frances Tiafoe, who beat Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-2.

Croatian Borna Coric was made to work hard by Pedro Cachin before the 15th seed prevailed 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 but it was a day to forget for Australian 18th seed Alex de Minaur who fell to a 6-3 7-6(2) 6-3 defeat by Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

Tunisian world number seven Ons Jabeur came through a tricky test against risk-taking Oceane Dodin with a 6-2 6-3 victory to ensure that no French player will make the third round of the women's competition for the third time in five years.

French presence in the singles' draws was ended altogether in the last match of the day when Arthur Rinderknech was knocked out by American ninth seed Taylor Fritz 2-6 6-4 6-3 6-4.

American sixth seed Coco Gauff suffered a mid-match wobble but subdued Julia Grabher 6-2, 6-3 in a tricky second-round encounter at the French Open on Thursday to continue her charge towards a first Grand Slam crown.

Gauff, who was defeated in the title clash last year by Iga Swiatek, faced an early test against the aggressive Austrian world number 61 but saved two break points before surging to a 5-1 lead and wrapped up the opening set without any problems.

The pair freely traded breaks early in a tense second set before the 19-year-old Gauff seized the advantage and wrapped up the contest on serve.

"It feels great. She's a tricky player, I played her on hard courts earlier this year and she gets a lot of height and depth on her balls ... and sometimes you don't know what to expect," Gauff said on court.

Up next for Gauff is 16-year-old Russian qualifier Mirra Andreeva, who beat Frenchwoman Diane Parry 6-1 6-2 to become the youngest player to reach the French Open third round since 2005.

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