Top seed Alcaraz moves into third round at French Open

By Paul Myers - RFI
Tennis  Pierre Ren-WormsRFI
MAY 31, 2023 LISTEN
© Pierre René-Worms/RFI

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the third round at the French Open on Wednesday following a four-set win over Taro Daniel Japan.

The 20-year-old Spaniard started ferociously and swept through the opening set 6-1. 

But a dozen unforced errors from Alcaraz helped Daniel to claim the second set 6-3 and level proceedings.

But any hint of an upset was efficiently put down. Alcaraz raced through the third set 6-1 and it was one-way traffic during the fourth set which he pocketed 6-2.

"Taro is a tough player and he has beaten really good players recently," said Alcaraz. "He played at a good level and I had to adjust as best as I could especially with the wind. I am happy with my level."

In the third round on Friday, Alcaraz will take on the 26th seed Denis Shapovalov after the 24-year-old Canadian beat Matteo Arnaldi from Italy in four sets.

Elsewhere in the top half of the men's draw, the 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas enjoyed a straight sets win over Roberto Carballes Baena.

The 24-year-old Greek said the second set tiebreak was the key to his victory.

"I had to play some of my best tennis in that particular moment to get that advantage of being two sets love up," he added.

"I feel that if he had won it, things could have got tricky."

The 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka departed after a five-set marathon with Thanassi Kokkinakis. The Australian claimed the decider 6-3 to end affairs after four hours and 38 minutes.

He will play in the third round for the first time since 2015 against the 11th seed Karen Khachanov who disposed of Radu Albot from Moldova in straight sets.

Home loss
In the women's draw, there was a shock for the home crowds as the fifth seed Caroline Garcia went out in three sets to the unseeded Russian Anna Blinkova. The 29-year-old French woman had been tipped as one of the contenders to take Iga Swiatek's crown.

But from a set and a break of serve up, she faltered. "I felt much more tense," Garcia said. "Then I was passive and I let her take the upper hand. I had a wait-and-see approach. I couldn't read the court any more and I couldn't get out of this bad momentum."

Blinkova, who served for the match at 5-4 only to fluff her lines eventually overcame her nerves when serving for the tie at 6-5 up converting her ninth match point.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka advanced to the third round in straight sets. The Belarusian beat her compatriot Iryna Shymanovich 7-5, 6-2.