PARIS, October 3: Russian Andrey Rublev strolled into the fourth round of the French Open with a facile 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over South African Kevin Anderson on Saturday.
Rublev, seeded 13th at Roland Garros, had lost his only previous meeting against two-time Grand Slam finalist Anderson at the 2015 US Open but did not face a single breakpoint against the 34-year-old on Court Simonne Mathieu.
The 22-year-old, who arrived in Paris after winning the ATP title in Hamburg by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas, broke Anderson’s serve once in the opening set and twice in the next two to complete the win in an hour and 34 minutes.
In his first appearance in the fourth round of the claycourt Grand Slam, former junior world number one Rublev will play the winner of the third round match between Hungarian Marton Fucsovics and Thiago Monteiro of Brazil.
American fourth seed Sofia Kenin stormed into the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-2 6-0 demolition of Romanian qualifier Irina Bara on Saturday.
The Australian Open champion lost the first two games before turning on the power and winning the remaining 12 to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros for the second time.
Bara took her chances early on and broke for 2-0 but her hopes of a major upset were shortlived as Kenin shook her early jitters to advance.
She only had trouble finishing it off on her own serve, most of her drop shot attempts failing in embarrassing fashion.
Kenin could face a Romanian player for the third round in a row if Patricia Maria Tig beats Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro later on Saturday.
Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to the fourth round of the French Open on Saturday after his opponent Aljaz Bedene retired with an ankle injury while trailing 6-1, 6-2, 3-1.
Slovenian Bedene, who defeated Tsitsipas in straight sets when they met at Rotterdam earlier this year, first called for the physiotherapist on Court Suzanne Lenglen to get treatment on his right ankle after going down 5-0 in the opening set.
After returning to court Bedene won the first game to get on the scoreboard and then got his ankle strapped before the start of the second set.
Tsitsipas, the reigning ATP Finals champion, kept his focus and went about his business smoothly, hitting 28 winners and breaking the 56th-ranked Bedene’s serve five times before the 31-year-old decided he could no longer continue.
In his fourth round, the Greek will play the winner of the match between Bulgarian 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov and Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain.
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur became the first Arab woman to reach the fourth round of the French Open as she beat eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka 7- 6(7) 2-6 6-3 on Saturday.
The 30th seed displayed her trademark court craft to undermine Sabalenka’s power as she surpassed her previous best third round showing at Roland Garros in 2017.
Sabalenka led 5-1 in the opening set tie break, but a series of errors allowed 26-year-old Jabeur to snatch it.
Former French Open junior champion Jabeur’s level dipped in the face of some fierce Sabalenka hitting as the second set slipped away in little over 20 minutes.
But the Tunisian, who became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in Australia this year, re-grouped and forged 3-0 ahead in the deciding set.
She also had points for a 4-0 lead, but Belarussian Sabalenka upped the intensity and the decibel level to stay in contention.
Sabalenka saved three match points at 2-5, then had a break point in the next game. But Jabeur remained composed as she brought up a match point and showed great touch to angle away a short forehand, then sealing the win with a first serve.
Ruthless Nadal charges into last 16
Claycourt master Rafael Nadal powered his way into the fourth round of his beloved French Open as his campaign for a record-extending 13th title picked up momentum with a merciless 6-1 6-4 6-0 demolition of Italian Stefano Travaglia on Friday. The second seed, looking to match Roger Federer’s record of 20 men’s Grand Slam singles titles, will next meet 20-year-old American Sebastian Korda, one of his biggest admirers.
“That means that I have been on the TV for such a long time, that’s the main thing. The same like when I was a kid, I was watching (Pete) Sampras, (Andre) Agassi, Carlos Moya, etc,” said Nadal, who has yet to lose a set in this year’s edition.
“Another negative thing that means is that I am 34. That’s another point that is not beautiful. But I’m happy to hear that. I know he’s playing great. He’s a very young kid with a lot of power. I think he has an amazing future — hopefully not yet.”
Nadal faced little resistance on court Philippe Chatrier, hitting 28 winners as the stars start to align for the Spaniard. (Reuters)