Alcaraz, Zverev Survive In 5; Djokovic, Nadal Strong At French Open

by Sean Randall | May 25th, 2022, 5:26 pm
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The second round opened Wednesday at the French Open and in the star-filled top half, two favorites rolled while the other had to escape.

Novak Djokovic had no trouble dismissing Alex Molcan 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4). The lefty Molcan, who is being coached by Djokovic’s ex Marian Vajda and just made the Lyon final, put up a strong fight in the third before Djokovic prevailed to win his 7th straight match and he’s now won his last 16 sets.

“I’m pleased with the way I’m feeling on the court, the way I’ve been striking the ball,” said Djokovic. “I think today was also under challenging conditions and playing against a specialist on clay, someone that is a tricky opponent and coming off from the final last week. It was never going to be an easy match, but I thought I performed very well.”

In the evening Rafael Nadal rolled past Frenchman Corentin Moutet 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. Nadal over a break in the third but otherwise was untroubled his fellow lefty.

“I’m happy I am through in three sets, that’s an important fact for me and that gives me the chance to keep working tomorrow and try to be ready for after tomorrow against a tough opponent,” said Nadal who won his 300th career Grand Slam match. “So let’s see. I am happy about a lot of things that I did tonight, so let’s try to keep going and keep improving tomorrow.”

But Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev had to scrape and clay.

Alcaraz was the big favorite against countryman Albert Ramos Vinolas and played the part with a dominant 6-1 first set. But the lefty stormed back to take the second and third as the teen sprayed a rash of errors to go with bad shotmaking.

In the fourth, Ramos Vinolas was get a break and serve for the match. But on his lone match point, his forehand let him down.

Both players were nervy but Alcaraz had the firepower and the crowd and that got him to the fifth.

Ramos Vinolas would recover from a 0-30 start to hold, then break, then hold to lead 3-0. However, things fell apart as once again with the finish line approaching the veteran could not close the door. Alacarz upped his game and took six of the last seven games for a 6-1, 6-7(7), 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4 victory in 4 hours, 34 minutes.

“I feel tired,” Alcaraz told the crowd. “It has been a great battle against Albert. I knew that it was going to be a great match, tough match. We fought until the last point. I’m so happy with the performance today.”

Ramos Vinolas falls to 1-13 career against Top 10 players in Majors.

Up next for Alcaraz will be Sebastian Korda on Friday. Korda breezed past Richard Gasquet and he beat Alcaraz last month.

Zverev also saved a match point in a stirring win over Sebastian Baez coming from two sets down to win it 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5.

The young Argentine Baez, who had an early break lead in the fifth, missed a lone match point on Zverev’s serve at 4-5. Zverev is now 8-1 in five set matches in Paris.

“This is the worst he will probably ever feel on a tennis court right now, this moment,” said Zverev. “It was such an incredible match, and I know it just too well because I lost the US Open final from being two sets to love up.

“You always get better from it and I wish him nothing but the best. He’s an unbelievably great kid, and he’s going to do a lot of great things in this sport I think.”

Other winners on the day included Grigor Dimitrov, John Isner, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Cameron Norrie and Diego Schwartzman.

Taylor Fritz, who won a five setter in the first round, fell to Bernabe Zapate Miralles in four sets in the upset of the day.

Tomorrow, bottom half favorites Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev return.

THURSDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe CHATRIER – Début à 12h00
1 SM 2 Laslo DJERE (SRB) contre Daniil MEDVEDEV (—)[2]
2 SD 2 Madison KEYS (USA)[22] contre Caroline GARCIA (FRA)
3 SM 2 Gilles SIMON (FRA) contre Steve JOHNSON (USA)
Pas avant 20h45
4 SD 2 Alizé CORNET (FRA) contre Jelena OSTAPENKO (LAT)[13]

Court Suzanne LENGLEN – Début à 11h00
1 SD 2 Paula BADOSA (ESP)[3] contre Kaja JUVAN (SLO)
2 SM 2 Pedro CACHIN (ARG) contre Hugo GASTON (FRA)
3 SD 2 Iga SWIATEK (POL)[1] contre Alison RISKE (USA)
4 SM 2 Zdenek KOLAR (CZE) contre Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE)[4]

Court Simonne MATHIEU – Début à 11h00
1 SD 2 Leolia JEANJEAN (FRA) contre Karolina PLISKOVA (CZE)[8]
2 SM 2 Frances TIAFOE (USA)[24] contre David GOFFIN (BEL)
3 SD 2 Simona HALEP (ROU)[19] contre Qinwen ZHENG (CHN)
4 SM 2 Andrey RUBLEV (—)[7] contre Federico DELBONIS (ARG)


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