No Top 15 seeds went down on Thursday at Roland Garros on a day when world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and clay GOAT Rafael Nadal showed they are in it for the long haul.
Djokovic topped Belgian Steve Darcis in straight sets 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in Paris, and Nadal likewise did not drop a set, dominating Argentine Facundo Bagnis 6-3, 6-0, 6-3.
“It’s not easy, because he’s very quick, and he anticipates the play very well,” Djokovic said of Darcis.
The world No. 1 will next face Brit Aljaz Bedene, who outlasted Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6(4), 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-2.
Nadal was not impressed that he became the eighth man to win 200 Grand Slam matches, looking forward to next meeting Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
“The only thing I know is that I have reached the third round,” Nadal said. “That’s the only thing that matters for me…I think this year I played better than last year. I’ve been able to play some really good matches against the best players in the world. I’m very happy to be competitive again.”
Other Top 10 winners were No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga coming back from two sets down for the third time in his career, beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-7(6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, and No. 7 Tomas Berdych defeating Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Tsonga will next meet Ernests Gulbis, who slapped 60 winners against No. 26 Joao Sousa 6-2, 7-5, 6-3.
Other seeded winners were No. 11 David Ferrer who beat Juan Monaco from a set down, No. 12 David Goffin, No. 13 Dominic Thiem who straight-setted Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, No. 14 Roberto Bautista, No. 21 Feliciano Lopez, and No. 25 Pablo Cuevas.
Thiem is in the third round at Roland Garros for the first time and will next face #NextGender star Alexander Zverev, who beat French wildcard Stephane Robert in four.
“It’s going to be our third match in just four weeks — Munich, Nice and here,” Thiem said of Zverev. “We are good friends. He’s an excellent player, so it’s going to be a real tough match on Saturday for me. For him, too, I hope.”
Goffin will next face off against Spanish veteran Nicolas Almagro, who defeated Jiri Vesely in straights.
Also on the upset tip was Croat Borna Coric, who from a set down sent No. 20 Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic packing 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(4), 7-6(6).
Highlights Friday at Roland Garros include (9) Richard Gasquet vs. (17) Nick Kyrgios, (3) Stan Wawrinka vs. (30) Jeremy Chardy, (2) Andy Murray vs. (27) “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, and (5) Kei Nishikori vs. Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco.
FRIDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Philippe-Chatrier Court 11:00 AM Start
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) vs. Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
Samantha Stosur (AUS) vs. Lucie Safarova (CZE)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) vs. Richard Gasquet (FRA)
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
Suzanne-Lenglen Court 11:00 AM Start
Simona Halep (ROU) vs. Naomi Osaka (JPN)
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)
Barbora Strycova (CZE) vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
Gilles Simon (FRA) vs. Viktor Troicki (SRB)
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