The Big 3 are comfortable into the third round at the French Open. The trio who have been in the last 16 French Open finals have lost a combined one set after two rounds of play.
Today on Suzanne Lenglen, Novak Djokovic dominated Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
“I’m playing well, feeling great,” Djokovic said after his first meeting with Cuevas. “I’m ready to go deep in this tournament. Hopefully that’s gonna be the case, but I’ll take it match by match, and so far the two matches that I have played have been played on a high quality.
“So I’m pleased with the performance today, particularly against I think a very good player, specialist on clay, someone I have never faced before, has got a lot of spin.
“Just a very difficult ball to handle in these kind of conditions when it’s a bit warmer and the balls that are different in the last couple years than they have, the balls that we use previously in Roland Garros. These balls are during the day bouncing really high.
“If you have a good serve it helps. So I think I found the right serve at the right time to get me out of the trouble in the third set when he was looking to come back from a break down.
‘The third set was quite even. Particularly, you know, I think at the beginning and mid part of the third set he had his chances, breakpoints. I think he started playing much better, making less unforced errors, so he made me run and he made me work more. But, you know, I felt comfortable running, playing, all-around game was great. So I’m very, very satisfied with the performance.”
Djokovic will now take on Ricardis Berankis in a rematch of their second round meeting in Paris last October.
Rafael Nadal closed the day on Chatrier debuting at night and celebrating his 35th birthday against Richard Gasquet. The French made a push in the second but Nadal was never under any real threat in a 6-0, 7-5, 6-2 win. Nadal has now won all 17 meetings against Gasquet and has taken 31 straight sets!
Gasquet was the last remaining French player in either draw, their worst showing in the Open Era.
“I think I played a great first set, one of the best of the clay court season, in my opinion. No mistakes, high intensity, winners, playing long,” Nadal said.
“Then in the second, still good. 5-2, set point for 6-2. I didn’t convert that one. And then I had a very bad game with my serve in 5-3, missing a couple of backhands and then forehand in the 30-40.
“Positive feelings. Of course better playing with crowd, but for the rest of the stuff, I think for the most of the match I have been playing a very good level of tennis.”
Nadal has now won his last 32 matches at the French Open. He’s 102-2 at the event and 127-2 in best-of-5 on clay. Next up will be British No. 2 Cameron Norrie in a rematch of their Australian Open third round.
“He’s a great player. He’s winning plenty of matches this year,” Nadal said of Norrie who has reached two clay finals this season.
“Every week he’s making good results, winning against very good players. I know gonna be a tough one. I need to be ready to play my best. I know he has a style of game that is not easy to play against. I need to play well.”
If there was a blip for the Big 3 it was Federer. The Swiss continued his strong performance from Monday to dominate the opening set against Marin Cilic. Cilic would break early in the second and then after getting assessed with a time violation while RECEVING, Federer unraveled.
He managed to get a up in the third but lost it, however prevailed in the breaker and pulled away late for a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 win.
“Very good match for me, I thought,” Federer said. “A bit of up-and-downs in the second and third sets. The good thing, I feel like I come out of a match like this and I know why it was up and down, you know. And then that I was able to attain a solid level once he did break back in the third set and things were looking dangerous for me, that I was able to step up a gear, stay with him, and then pull away from him, I think that gives me a lot of confidence.
“So I think that fourth set was really big and nice for me, because it’s hard to replicate those kind of pressure moments like tiebreaker third set, one set all, and then sort of everything goes flat, you know, beginning of the fourth set. But you have got to stay on top of things and I was able to almost find another gear, which he couldn’t, and I think that was very nice for me. So I’m very happy.”
He also talked about the odd time violation.
“I didn’t feel like I was making him wait, until I realized, only when I sat down, it was not even during the conversation I had with him at the net, is that actually Marin had hit a serve once, you know, while I wasn’t in position yet,” Federer said. “And I thought he was working on his serve, which I thought was really odd, but it dawned on me that he must have been upset for a while and I told the umpire, Why didn’t you tell me? I did not know that he was upset. He goes, Well, I figured you knew. I was, like, Okay. Here we are again in a place where you think that I know, and then we, nobody knows. It’s a misunderstanding there.”
Federer will now meet former Tulane standout Dominik Koepfer on Saturday in the third round.
As the second round wrapped up in the men’s draw, Italians continued to impress as Jannik Sinner, who could face Rafael Nadal on Monday, was a winner along with Lorenzo Musetti, Marco Cecchinato and Matteo Berrettini.
Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest in the men’s at 18, advanced as did Diego Schwartzman, and Philipp Kohlschreiber who upset Aslan Karatsev.
Michael Ymer also upended Gael Monfils in four sets. It might be the Frenchman’s final match at the French Open.
Tomorrow, the big American men — John Isner and Reilly Opelka — will have upsets on their minds. Isner will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas under the lights while Opelka gets Daniil Medvedev. If the courts are dry and quick, watch out!
Alexander Zverev also returns as the third round opens. The German meets Laslo Djere.
FRIDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
** Court Philippe CHATRIER ** Début à 12h00
1 SD 3 Victoria AZARENKA (BLR) contre Madison KEYS (USA)
2 SM 3 Alexander ZVEREV (GER)  contre Laslo DJERE (SRB)
Pas avant 16h00
3 SD 3 Serena WILLIAMS (USA) contre Danielle COLLINS (USA)
Pas avant 21h00
4 SM 3 Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE)  contre John ISNER (USA) 
** Court Suzanne LENGLEN ** Début à 11h00
1 SD 3 Elena RYBAKINA (KAZ)  contre Elena VESNINA (RUS)
2 SM 3 Fabio FOGNINI (ITA)  contre Federico DELBONIS (ARG)
3 SM 3 Reilly OPELKA (USA) contre Daniil MEDVEDEV (RUS) 
4 SD 3 Polona HERCOG (SLO) contre Marketa VONDROUSOVA (CZE) 
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