Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Kenin, Ostapenko, Djokovic & Fernandez into third round


PARIS,October 1: American fourth seed Sofia Kenin ran into a spot of bother before reaching the French Open third round with a 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory against Romanian Anna Bogdan on Thursday.
Kenin, the best American hope at Roland Garros along with last year’s semifinalist Amanda Anisimova after Serena Williams withdrew injured on Wednesday, was out of sorts in the opening set before finding her range.
The Australian Open champion struggled to handle Bogdan’s cross-court backhands at first, but once she gained control of the rallies the tide turned completely.
However, Kenin had trouble finishing the contest off at 5-1 as Bogdan saved three match points to survive for another game, which the American then bagged with a forehand winner on her fourth match point.
The 21-year-old Kenin, whose best result at the French Open is reaching the fourth round last year, next faces either another Romanian, qualifier Irina Bara, or Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.
“I knew I had to fight,” said Kenin. “I couldn’t find my rhythm at the beginning so I just kept fighting and it paid off.”
Former champion Jelena Ostapenko reached the third round by beating second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-2. Ostapenko won her only major title here in 2017. Pliskova reached the semifinals that year and lost to Simona Halep.
There were blue skies over Roland Garros after days of rain but the roof stayed over Court Philippe Chatrier for their match.
The unseeded Latvian player next faces 29th-seeded Sloane Stephens or Paula Badosa.
Pliskova’s twin sister, Kristyna, was also playing a former French Open champion when she faced 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza.
Novak Djokovic’s biggest concern seemed to be dealing with a rare bit of sunshine during his second-round victory at Roland Garros.
The No. 1-ranked Djokovic got his team to procure him a hat so he could wear that while on the side of Court Philippe Chatier that was brightest during his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ricardas Berankis.
Djokovic has dropped a total of only 10 games so far on his way to the third round in Paris. He won the title at Roland Garros in 2016 to complete a career Grand Slam.
Djokovic says “I hope I can continue like this.” He improved to 33-1 in 2020. His lone loss came when he was disqualified at the U.S. Open last month.
Canadian 18-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time as she beat experienced Polona Hercog 6-4 3-6 6-1 at the French Open on Thursday.
Fernandez, the youngest woman left in the draw after an earlier defeat for Denmark’s Clara Tauson, was pegged back after winning a tight opener, but raced through the decider.
Giving nothing away, Fernandez’s accuracy was too much for Hercog, who took out her frustration on her racket midway through the deciding set and received a warning.
Fernandez is playing in only her third main draw at a Grand Slam. She lost in the first round at the Australian Open after coming through qualifying, and made the second round at the U.S. Open. Thursday’s win takes her one step further.
Shapovalov dumped out after five-hour French Open tussle
Ninth seed Denis Shapovalov crashed out in the French Open second round Thursday following a 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 loss to Roberto Carballes Baena.
Spanish world number 101 Carballes Baena prevailed after a five-hour battle on Court Suzanne Lenglen to set up a clash with 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the last 32.
Shapovalov, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open last month, twice served for the match in the final set at 5-4 and 6-5 but was broken three times in succession.
“It’s a dream for me to win a match like this on this court,” said Carballes Baena, 27, after advancing to the third round of a major for the first time.
“I tried to be very solid and focus on my game. Shapovalov is very good but I did a very good match.”
Divij Sharan bows out after opening-round loss at Roland Garros
India’s Divij Sharan and his South Korean partner Kwon Soon-woo were ousted from the French Open following a hard-fought opening-round loss in the men’s doubles event here.
The unseeded Sharan and Kwon Soon-woo lost 2-6 6-4 4-6 to the 16th seeded Croatian-American pair of Franko Skugor and Austin Krajicek on Wednesday. It was Divij’s second straight opening-round loss at a Grand Slam after the US Open ouster.
Veteran Rohan Bopanna is the only Indian left in French Open now and he begins his men’s doubles campaign later on Thursday with Canadian partner Denis Shapovalov.
They face the pair of Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil. (Agencies)