Thursday, June 13, 2024

French Open goes dry with alcohol ban to stop disruptive fans

French Open 1

Paris, May 30: As rain suspended play on the outer courts at the French Open again on Thursday, fans were in for more disappointment when organisers announced they would not be able to drink alcohol in the stands after unruly behaviour came under scrutiny.
Belgian David Goffin had accused partisan fans at the French Open of “total disrespect” after he played a Frenchman in the first round while world number one Iga Swiatek urged them not to scream during rallies, especially in high-pressure games.
“First of all, we are happy people are very enthusiastic about watching tennis and being part of the matches, showing feeling and emotions,” tournament director Amelie Mauresmo told reporters.
“But there are definitely steps which shouldn’t go further. A few things have needed to be put in place.
“Alcohol was allowed until now in the stands, but that’s over… If they exceed the limit, if they don’t behave well or if they throw things at the players, that’s it.”
Mauresmo said umpires have been asked to become more strict and intervene to ensure players are respected while security would step in if fans overstepped their boundaries.
“Let’s see how it goes with the (umpires) being a little bit more strict. Let’s see how it goes with the security being also a little bit more strict,” she added.
“I don’t want to be negative and I’m an optimist. I’m really trying to see that people are going to react in a good way and that it’s going to be OK. If it’s not, we will take other measures.”
Rybakina, Sabalenka moves into French Open third round
Fourth seed Elena Rybakina overcame a sluggish start to secure a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus in Paris on Thursday, advancing to the third round of the French Open.
Rybakina, a former Wimbledon champion, experienced an early hiccup with a double fault but quickly regained her footing, holding serve in the opening game under the roof on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
The 24-year-old Kazakh found her rhythm, showcasing her power with three consecutive aces from 15-30 down to claim a crucial 3-2 lead. She capitalised on her momentum, securing a break to clinch the opening set in 35 minutes, asserting her dominance on the clay court.
“With a lefty I’m trying to cover the right sides of the court. In the end I’m also focusing on myself a lot and trying to push myself today with a little bit of ups and downs,” Rybakina said.
“A lot of games I was 0-40 down which I would say is not that usual for me. But she’s an experienced player and it’s not easy to play her.”
Early in the second set, there was little to separate the duo until the lanky Rus capitalised on mistakes from her opponent to break for a 4-2 lead. However, her advantage was short-lived as she surrendered her serve in the next game, allowing the match to remain tightly contested.
“No one wants to play three sets… so I was trying to focus point by point and push myself. Energy-wise I wasn’t that happy today with myself,” Rybakina added.
After leveling the score at 4-4, Russian-born Rybakina showcased her resilience by breaking again, setting up the opportunity to seal the match on serve.
With determination, she closed out the match in style, securing victory and booking her spot in the next round. Rybakina’s impressive performance earned her a meeting with either Petra Martic or Elise Mertens in the upcoming match.
Second seed Aryna Sabalenka dominated Japanese qualifier Moyuka Uchijima in a commanding 6-2 6-2 victory under the roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris on Thursday, securing her spot in the French Open third round.
Uchijima, experiencing the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time, struggled against Sabalenka’s formidable serve and groundstrokes.
Despite a shaky start, Uchijima managed to find her rhythm after the initial nerves, but Sabalenka’s relentless pressure proved too much. Sabalenka capitalized on a break point opportunity to seize the first set in just 29 minutes.
Although Uchijima showed glimpses of resistance, Sabalenka’s power and strategic drop shots kept her in control.
Despite a brief resurgence from Uchijima, Sabalenka maintained her composure to secure victory, showcasing her dominance on the clay courts of Roland Garros.
(Reuters/ToI With Reuters inputs)