Add Ashleigh Barty to the growing list of injured players. Today the World #1 and top seed withdrew from the French Open citing a hip injury. It was obvious discomfort, as Barty’s movement was hampered and her serve lacked its usual power. The Aussie’s high expectations for another Slam title has now created opportunity for the three remaining major champions in the top half of the draw. Iga Swiatek sits in that half and still remains the title favorite.
French Open Day 5 Recap
Iga Swiatek Drops Just Two Games, Headed into the Third Round
Easy power, incredible movement and pinpoint precision made the eighth seed an impossible challenge for Rebecca Peterson. It seems Swiatek owns the top half of the draw and is poised for a deep run. And, her doubles draw looks equally promising, alongside partner Bethany Mattek-Sands.
All American Clashes
For the first time in her career, Coco Gauff has reached the third round at Roland Garros. The 17-year-old continues to impress. Gauff now has the third highest match wins for 2021 and seems darn near unstoppable. Compatriot Jen Brady is riding a confidence high after after battling through a tight three setter against Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro. Gauff and Brady will square off on Saturday in what should be an absolute popcorn match.
The second All American clash pits Sofia Kenin against 28th seed, Jessica Pegula. In a year which has been less than stellar, it seems that Kenin is coming out of her slump and finding good form. Perhaps just in time, as Pegula has been in good form. Saturday’s match should go the distance as these two battle for a spot in the Round of 16.
Anett Kontaveit Dominates
The #30 seed dropped two games in exiting Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in less than an hour. While the Estonian enjoyed an easy win today, Saturday will present a much bigger challenge in the form of Iga Swiatek. While Kontaveit leads the head to head, this will be their first meeting on clay – the surface with Swiatek seems to dominate. Saturday is shaping up to be a spectacular day in Paris.
Victoria Azarenka Will Face Challenge vs Madison Keys Third Round
Victoria Azarenka didn’t have much clay court time behind her coming into the French Open. Yet, she’s passed the first two hurdles. It took nearly an hour for the #15 seed to grab the first set. Those line painting shots continued to put the ball just beyond Tauson’s reach, securing the win. Madison Keys, the 23rd seed, dismissed Leylah Fernandez to set up a second meeting with Azarenka. The Belarusian leads 1-0 in their head to head.
Mertens and Sakkari Earn Second Round Wins
Mertens endured a two and a half hour battle before finding her way through Zarina Diyas. Facing a set deficit, the Belgain finally found her groove chalking up a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win. Sakkari, on the other hand, needed slightly more than an hour to bounce Jasmine Paolini. Mertens is always a tough competitor, consistency her weapon of choice. Yet, Sakkari is having a solid run and will undoubtedly be the fresher player. Another must watch match for Saturday.
Ekaterina Alexandrova FO Campaign Ended
Perhaps a result of less than stellar serving, or more likely a run in with a red hot player. Barbora Krejcikova dashed Alexandrova’s hopes of a deep run. The #32 seed only saw two break opportunities, and capitalized on just one. Krejcikova broke four out of seven chances and brutally punished the Russian’s second serve. Unseeded in the singles draw, Krejcikova is the second seed in doubles. She and doubles partner Katerina Siniakova are converting their doubles success to their singles games.
Seventh seed Serena Williams is moving on to the third round. Not a straightforward win, as Serena saw some of Buzarnescu’s shotmaking. Yet, Serena showed why she can easily be considered the greatest of all time. After dropping the second set, Williams dominated the decider, giving up a single game. Serena will met Danielle Collins on Friday.
An Easy Day on the Red Clay
Karolina Muchova, seeded 18, won in straight sets. Despite stellar serving from Vavara Lepchenko, the Czech saved all six break points faced. As the American found out, it’s hard to beat a player who returns nearly every shot and can outlast most in long rallies
Fifth seed Elina Svitolina continues to quietly move through the draw. Up next is Barbora Krejcikova who is playing some of the best tennis of her career. Not an easy day in store for Svitolina, but undoubtedly a challenge she can overcome.
Ons Jabeur, #25 made quick work of Astra Sharma, 6-2, 6-4. The Tunisian has Magda Linette as her next opponent. In a 1-1 head to head, Jabeur has the recent clay court win. Linette and Jabeur are looking for their first trip to the fourth round at Roland Garros. Will Jabeur’s power overcome Linette’s confidence? It will definitely be a tight contest.