Friday, September 22, 2023

Novak Djokovic breezes into French Open second round

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his first round match against Aleksandar Kovacevic of the US.

Paris, May 29: Novak Djokovic began his quest for a record-breaking 23rd men’s Grand Slam singles title at the French Open in Paris with a commanding first-round victory over debutant Aleksandar Kovacevic.
The Serbian player, a two-time champion at Roland Garros, defeated Kovacevic 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) on Monday.
Djokovic comfortably sailed through the first two sets, but encountered some resistance from the 24-year-old American in the third set.
Despite Kovacevic’s effort, his lack of experience became evident during the tie-break on the renowned clay court.
The match concluded with Djokovic clinching victory on his first match point, thanks to a scintillating service return.
Djokovic will next face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics as he vies for a place in the third round of the tournament.
Stephens beats Pliskova to ease into French Open second round
Sloane Stephens made the most of her time on her favorite court in the world, delivering a commanding performance in the first round of the French Open in Paris.
Stephens secured a 6-0, 6-4 victory over former world number one Katerina Pliskova on Monday, sending a strong message to her opponents.
The 30-year-old, who reached the final in Paris five years ago, dominated the match from the start, leaving Pliskova little opportunity to find her rhythm on the renowned Philippe-Chatrier court. Stephens swiftly claimed the first set in just 49 minutes.
While Pliskova managed to regroup in the second set, Stephens capitalized on her opponent’s inconsistent play. Pliskova accumulated a total of 31 unforced errors and struggled with six double faults.
This allowed Stephens, a former world number three, to stage a comeback after trailing 4-3. She broke Pliskova’s serve twice and won the next three games, ultimately securing a well-deserved victory.
Stephens’ performance showcased her prowess and determination, setting a strong foundation for her journey in the French Open.
“This is my favourite court in the world and I am super happy to be back,” said Stephens, currently ranked 30th.
Despite facing a struggle with form recently, Stephens, the American player who clinched her only Grand Slam title at the 2017 U.S. Open, showcased her resilience in last year’s French Open by reaching the quarter-finals.
In the current season, Stephens arrived at the tournament in Paris with an upswing in her clay court performance.
She demonstrated this by winning her first WTA 125 event and making it to the semi-finals in Rabat just a week prior, further boosting her confidence and momentum on clay surfaces.
“To start like that on your favourite court and favourite surface is great. I wanted to get matches under my belt this year (before the tournament) and I was feeling confident,” Stephens said. (Agencies)