The American big men, John Isner and Reilly Opelka, took center stage Friday at the French Open. But not pun intended, both came up short. Well short. And the rain and drizzle didn’t help their cause.
Opelka was on early against the improving Daniil Medvedev and the Russian who no issues at all in an easy 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win.
Medvedev out-aced Opelka 10-to-5, breaking the giant five times after holding 16 break points. Opelka managed to win just 39% of second serves, and 62% of first. Medvedev dropped just four points on first serve the entire match.
“Clay in Roland Garros feels great this year,” said Medvedev who was 0-4 at the event before this year. “Especially Wilson balls. Said it from the beginning. I think it’s going to stay till the end of the tournament. As I said after the first round, now I know to beat me, guys have to play good. I mean, this is always possible. This was not a question.
“It’s better to feel like this when you know you can lose to yourself just playing bad.”
In the night session, Stefanos Tsitsipas got another look at Isner. Big John, though, broke late in the first and jumped out to a set lead. Tsitsipas would get back on track in the second before Isner regrouped in the third. But once the American lost the breaker, Tsitsipas ran away with a tough 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-1 win.
Earlier, it was Alexander Zverev continuing to play well beating Laslo Djere 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in a match played under the Chatrier roof due to the rain. Zverev has now won nine straight sets since going down 0-2 in his opener to Oscar Otte.
“I felt comfortable today on court,” Zverev said. “It’s getting important, because the matches are getting tougher. The opponents are getting tougher. I feel like now is the time where you need to start playing your best tennis to get through.”
Next will be Kei Nishikori who after two 5-setters had a much easier day playing just a set before his opponent, Henri Laaksonen, retired with an adductor injury down 7-5.
“Have to say definitely that was big chance for me for giving me play just one set today and look to recover well today and tomorrow,” said Nishikori. “Especially against Sascha I have next. You know, I have been losing to him last two matches or two tournaments in a row. This is third weeks in a row.
“Not easy, but it will gives me a little bit of chance to get back to 100% again. Yeah, I’m kind of excited to play.”
Federico Delbonis kept his strong clay campaign going ousting Fabio Fognini, and Pablo Carreno Busta and Cristian Garin both knocked out Americans.
In the match of the day in front of an electric crowd, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina edged Casper Ruud 7-6(3), 2-6, 7-6(6), 0-6, 7-5. The Spaniard Davidovich Fokina, who turns 22 on Saturday, won it on his fifth match point after over 4-and-a-half hours.
“I think this match represents Roland Garros,” the Spaniard said. “This match was very tough. He played unbelievable. In the fifth set, we were in the battle every game. Every game we want to win, to break the serve of the other guy. Then was, with all emotions inside, with all the crowd singing your name, was unbelievable.”
Lamented Ruud, “It’s tough but it’s a part of the game. It’s a part of the sport. You just have to accept it. You can’t dwell too much on it. Luckily in this sport there will be new chances in couple of weeks already. So, I mean, it was very tough, and, yeah, I’m of course a bit sad but it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world.”
Tomorrow, the third round concludes with Rafael Nadal on Lenglen, Roger Federer at night on Chatrier and Novak Djokovic on during the day on Chatrier. All three figure to breeze as Nadal and Federer face lefties who played college tennis in the U.S., Cameron Norrie and Dominik Koepfer.
Diego Schwartzman, Matteo Berrettini and 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz are also in action.
SATURDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
** Court Philippe CHATRIER ** Début à 12h00
1 SD 3 Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE) contre Elina SVITOLINA (UKR)
2 SM 3 Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB)  contre Ricardas BERANKIS (LTU)
Pas avant 16h00
3 SD 3 Anett KONTAVEIT (EST)  contre Iga SWIATEK (POL)
Pas avant 21h00
4 SM 3 Dominik KOEPFER (GER) contre Roger FEDERER (SUI) 
** Court Suzanne LENGLEN ** Début à 11h00
1 SM 3 Diego SCHWARTZMAN (ARG)  contre Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (GER)
2 SD 3 Sofia KENIN (USA) contre Jessica PEGULA (USA)
3 SM 3 Rafael NADAL (ESP)  contre Cameron NORRIE (GBR)
4 SD 3 Coco GAUFF (USA) contre Jennifer BRADY (USA)
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