This Friday, May 27 marked the start of the 16are final (the third round) at Roland-Garros. While waiting for the result of Diane Parry’s match, one of the French surprises at the start of the tournament, who faces the American Sloane Stephens, or the outcome of the night session for Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have won , foot to the floor, their ticket for the next round.
Against the watch
One is world number one. The other is ranked at 195e rank. Inevitably, this gap is felt a little on the court. Novak Djokovic hardly left space for Aljaz Bedene: the Serb played his tennis, dominating the Slovenian in three sets and without dragging on the way: 6-3 after 35 minutes, 6-3 after 1h10, 6-2 in after 1 hour 44 minutes.
If he has not yet tackled the most complicated matches of this tournament, the current world number one confirms that he is indeed one of the main candidates, if not the main candidate for his own succession in Paris.
After a complicated start to the season, marked by a first quarter almost without activity due to his non-vaccination against Covid-19, the Serb had reassured himself a little in mid-May by offering himself a sixth coronation at the Rome tournament. , at the expense of the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (5e world): he had not won any title this year.
Novak Djokovic, 35, is still looking for a 21e Grand Slam trophy, which would allow him to equal the record held by the Spaniard Rafael Nadal since his coronation at the Australian Open in January.
Wink of the draw, the two men could find themselves in the quarter-finals. And the meeting, if confirmed, promises to be intense. Because the Spaniard is also making a start to the tournament in steamroller mode as he showed on Friday.
On the right foot
The floating moment only lasted for a few moments. First to serve, Rafael Nadal gave up the first point of the first set to Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp. But as soon as his opponent came into play in the next game, the Spaniard set the record straight. To never really let go of his grip.
Solid in the service as well as in the exchange, the world number five recited his tennis. Even if the last set was more hung: he led 4-0 before seeing his opponent come back to 5-4. He finally won 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in 2:11.
So far so good for Rafael Nadal who, winner of the Australian Open in January – his 21e Grand Slam title – arrived in Paris having played just five matches on clay. And, above all, having no final victory in a tournament on this surface during the season.
This rarity in the Spaniard’s career is due to a broken rib, at the beginning of March, but also to his left foot: he suffers from Muller-Weiss syndrome, a pathology which leads to the necrosis of part of the bone and is inoperable if he wants to continue the practice of high-level sport.
The former world No. 1 has to deal with this increasingly present pain, but, at 35, returned to the courts in early May in Madrid, he appeared close to breaking a few days later during the Rome tournament, caught up with this evil during a round of 16 loss against the Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
At the end of his first three games at Roland-Garros, the Spaniard seems in any case to have started off on the right foot.
There was no picture
It was a duel of outsiders in the men’s tournament. And Diego Schwartzman won hands down. The small Argentine, world No. 15, easily dominated (6-3, 6-1, 6-2) the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, world No. 18. There wasn’t really a match, it was so one-sided.
Diego Schwartzman, 29, had however recently been beaten at the Masters 1000 in Madrid by his opponent of the day whom he faced for the 5e times and who, before this meeting, led 3 successes to 1.
The Argentinian will probably find it difficult to repeat his career from the last two editions at Roland-Garros: in 2020, he played in his first Grand Slam semi-final, beaten by Rafael Nadal; the same Nadal had dominated him in the quarter-finals in 2021.
In 8are in the final, he could come across a sizeable opponent in the person of… Novak Djokovic.
Return to foreground
After conceding the first set, Amanda Anisimova won against the Czech Karolina Muchova, the latter having retired in the third set, injured in the ankle, while trailing 6-7, 6-2, 3-0.
😥 Karolína Muchova’s tears… It’s cruel for the Czech! While she had dominated the first round, Mu… https://t.co/E6E7ZZnQII
If the American still has a little way to go in this tournament, the 27e world player, who eliminated the Japanese Naomi Osaka in the first round, then the Croatian Donna Vekic in the second round (in two sets each time), shows that we will probably have to count on her in the coming days. Especially since seven of the Top 10 players have already left.
The one who had been announced as a future tennis star, has come a long way. Semi-finalist in the Paris tournament in 2019, at 17, ranked world number 21 a few months later, she then dropped out due to the death of her father at the end of summer 2019, a painful mourning that had been injury follow-up.
Fallout at 86e world place at the beginning of August 2021, Amanda Anisimova reappeared in the forefront at the beginning of this year. For the first time since 2019, she played in a WTA Tour final, in Melbourne 2, dominating Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich and winning the second title of her career, after a victory in Bogota in 2019
“The key was to get her back to work”explained in January, in an interview with the teamhis trainer since the summer of 2021, the Frenchman Romain Deridder. She has been injured a lot in the last two years so she had a hard time trusting herself on the pitch, pushing in training. We had to be very progressive. »
The other main results of the day
Cori Gauff (USA) defeats Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) 6-3, 6-4
Leylah Fernandez (Canada/#17) beats Belinda Bencic (Switzerland/#14) 7-5, 3-6, 7-5
Martina Trevisan (Italy) defeats Daria Saville (Australia) 6-3, 6-4
Elise Mertens (Belgium/#31) beats Varvara Gracheva (Russia) 6-2, 6-3
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus) defeats Angelique Kerber (Germany/#21) 6-4, 7-6
Félix Auger-Aliassime (Canada) defeats Filip Krajinovic (Serbia) 7-6, 7-6, 7-5
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