Defending champion Novak Djokovic eases into French Open last 32

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka and fourth seed Elena Rybakina also moved into the third round of the French Open tennis championship

Updated - May 30, 2024 09:32 pm IST

Published - May 30, 2024 06:16 pm IST - PARIS

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his second round match against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena at the French Open tennis championship 2024, in Paris on May 30, 2024.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his second round match against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena at the French Open tennis championship 2024, in Paris on May 30, 2024. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the French Open third round for the 19th successive year on May 30 with a straight-sets win over Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

Djokovic, 37, chasing a record 25th Grand Slam title, won 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 and goes on to face either Gael Monfils of France or Italian 30th seed Lorenzo Musetti.

Djokovic holds a 19-0 winning record against Monfils and has defeated Musetti four times in five meetings.

However, the Italian gave the Serb a major scare at the French Open in 2021 when he won the first two sets before having to retire injured in the decider.

Top seed Djokovic dropped his opening service game against 63rd-ranked Carballes Baena but from 4-4 in the first set he reeled off 14 of the last 17 games to storm to victory on the back of an impressive 43 winners.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev into French Open last 32

Alexander Zverev, who effectively ended Rafael Nadal’s French Open career in the first round, defeated Belgium’s David Goffin in straight sets to reach the last 32.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev plays a forehand against Belgium’s David Goffin during the French Open 2024 tennis championship at Rolland Garros, in Paris on May 30, 2024.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev plays a forehand against Belgium’s David Goffin during the French Open 2024 tennis championship at Rolland Garros, in Paris on May 30, 2024. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fourth seed Zverev came through 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-2 and will take on either Italy’s Luciano Darderi or Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands for a place in the fourth round.

Zverev arrived in Paris on the back of winning the Rome Open title and is the only player to reach the semi-finals at the last three French Open tournaments.

Medvedev into third round

Daniil Medvedev cantered into the French Open third round when his Serbian opponent, Miomir Kecmanovic, retired due to injury.

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reacts during his second round match against Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic at the French Open tennis championship 2024 at Rolland Garros, in Paris on May 30, 2024.

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reacts during his second round match against Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic at the French Open tennis championship 2024 at Rolland Garros, in Paris on May 30, 2024. | Photo Credit: Reuters

World number 57 Kecmanovic called on the trainer when he was trailing 6-1 5-0 on court Suzanne Lenglen on another humid, grey day in Paris.

Russian fifth seed Medvedev, who has never made it past the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, will next face either Argentina’s Mariano Navone or Czech Tomas Machac.

Sabalenka eases past qualifier Uchijima

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka beat Japanese qualifier Moyuka Uchijima 6-2 6-2 under the roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier to move into the French Open third round.

Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates after winning her second round match against Japan’s Moyuka Uchijima.

Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates after winning her second round match against Japan’s Moyuka Uchijima. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Uchijima, playing in the second round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, could not cope with Sabalenka’s powerful serve and groundstrokes.

Sabalenka won six points in a row at the start of the match but once Uchijima had overcome her nerves she settled down against the Belarusian.

Uchijima held her serve but when she trailed 3-2, Sabalenka pounced on a break point with a fierce winner before taking the first set in 29 minutes.

The Japanese number one wore a sombre expression during the changeover before the second set and she had no answer to the power of Sabalenka who also played some telling drop shots.

Uchijima afforded herself a smile when she got the better of the Belarusian on a long rally to make it 4-2 but Sabalenka refocused to save a break point before breaking the Japanese player’s serve to seal victory.

Rybakina sees off Rus to move into third round

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina made a sluggish start before beating Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-3 6-4 to move into the third round of the French Open.

Rybakina, a former Wimbledon champion, made an early double fault but held in the opening game under the roof on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

The 24-year-old Kazakh seized control, firing three consecutive aces from 15-30 down for a 3-2 lead and sealed a break to take the opening set in 35 minutes.

Kazakhstan Elena Rybakina serves against Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.

Kazakhstan Elena Rybakina serves against Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

“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.”

There was little to separate the duo early in the second set before the lanky Rus took advantage of mistakes from her opponent to break for a 4-2 lead, only to surrender her serve in the next game.

“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.

Having levelled up at 4-4, Russian-born Rybakina broke again to set up the chance to settle the match on serve and she completed in style to book a meeting with Petra Martic or Elise Mertens.

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