Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev win after match point, Novak Djokovic, Emma Radacanu lose
Spanish teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz and third seed Alexander Zverev both saved match point in the French Open thrillers in five sets, while defending champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the third round on Wednesday .
Alcaraz, widely tipped as a title contender, rallied from the brink to defeat compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 5-7, 7-6 (7/2) , 6-4 after four hours and 34 minutes.
“I feel tired,” Alcaraz said. “It was a great battle, a great game and we fought until the last point.”
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Alcaraz, 19, is trying to become the eighth teenager to win a major men’s title and was the man to break the grip of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
But he was pushed to the limit by the veteran Ramos-Vinolas, 15 years his senior and whose best Grand Slam performance came when he reached the quarter-finals in Paris six years ago.
Alcaraz, the dominant player on the tour in 2022 with four season-leading titles, fought off a match point to break Ramos-Vinolas as he served at 5-4 in the fourth set.
He then clawed back his way from 3-0 up in the decider, producing an outrageous backhand pass to recover the break and a more sensational baseline rushing to move 5-4 in front before wrapping up the win with an ace.
Zverev, the 2021 semi-finalist, pulled himself out of a deep hole against Argentina’s Sebastian Baez to avoid his first loss at a major tournament in three years.
Zverev defeated Baez 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5 and will face Brandon Nakashima of the United States for a place in the last 16.
“I’m happy to still be in the tournament right now,” said Zverev, who lost a match point on serve at 4-5 in the final set.
“I was planning my vacation to Monaco, where I was going and who I was going with and it relaxed me thinking about the beach.
“You just have to find a way. »
Zverev was booed by the crowd in the second set as he had a heated conversation with his father in his dressing room.
Adding to the embarrassment was that in the next match he missed a single overhead which left John McEnroe dumbfounded.
“What’s going on? Wow,” he said in a comment.
Zverev finally regained his composure – it was the third comeback from a two-set deficit in Zverev’s career. He trailed fellow German Oscar Otte 2-0 in the first round at Roland Garros a year ago before his run to the last four.
– Aussie duo’s mixed fortunes as US Open champion stunned –
Two Australians took part in the women’s singles with Daria Gavrilova triumphing over Petra Kvitova in straight sets, while Ajla Tomljanovic was beaten in three sets by Varvara Gracheva.
Gavrilova won her second-round match 6-4, 6-2 against the 32nd seed and will now face Italy’s Martina Trevisan in the third round.
Tomljanovic rallied after a first loss but was eventually beaten by Gracheva 4-6, 7-6, 5-7.
The biggest shock in women’s singles, however, belonged to US Open champion Emma Radacanu who was eliminated by Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
It’s the second time the Briton has lost to Sasnovich in eight months.
It was the French Open debut for Radacanu, and she started well winning the first set, but then hit 33 unforced errors.
She finally paid the price for not converting one of five break points in the third game of the third set and was eventually overpowered.
– Djokovic is heading “in the right direction” –
Djokovic did a comfortable job on Slovakian Alex Molcan, the world number one winning 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) against a player trained by his former longtime manager Marian Vajda, l man who inspired the most of his 20 Grand Slam titles.
“So far so good. I’m happy with how I feel on the pitch,” Djokovic said after reaching the Round of 16 at Roland Garros for the 17th consecutive year.
“It was never going to be an easy game, but I think I played really well. Everything is going in the right direction. I’m looking forward to the next challenge.
The top seed will continue his bid for a third Roland Garros crown against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in the Round of 16.
However, Maria Sakkari became the fifth female seed to break out of the top 10 after losing 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4) to Czech world number 81 Karolina Muchova.
Sakkari, the fourth seed from Greece, was one point away from reaching the final at Roland Garros last year.
Her loss left the women’s draw without four of its top six seeds as she trailed defending champion Barbora Krejcikova, Anett Kontaveit and Ons Jabeur through the exit door.
Muchova next faces 27th seed Amanda Anisimova, who made the last four in Paris three years ago.
“She’s very special, she’s an amazing player. It was a big fight, a bit of a test and a challenge for me and I’m glad I took it the way I did,” said Muchova.
Former Grand Slam champions Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka also qualified for the third round.
In search of a 14th title at Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal faces the French wildcard Corentin Moutet during the evening session. Moutet knocked out 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in the first round.
Nadal started the year with a streak of 20 wins, claiming a second Australian Open title to claim a record 21st Grand Slam and edge out Djokovic and Roger Federer.
The 35-year-old’s record at Roland Garros stands at 106 wins and just three losses since his title debut in 2005, but he is without a clay-court title this season after suffering rib and foot injuries.