Sabalenka, Pegula Advance To French Open 3R, Garcia Blinks; Swiatek, Rybakina, Gauff Back Thu.
Sabalenka improved to 9-0 in Slams this year taking out qualifier Iryna Shymanovich 7-5, 6-2.
“I’m super happy to get this win,” Sabalenka said after. “I think the first set I didn’t play my best, and I’m super happy that no matter what I was able to stay calm and I was able to fight for every point to get this win.”
American No. 1 Pegula didn’t have to play a full match as Camila Giorgi retired in the second down 6-2.
“I thought today was going to be a very long day but actually ended up being a quicker day than I was expecting, which is always good, especially if you’re winning,” Pegula said.
“It’s very windy out today, different conditions, but the sun is out and I feel like the clay is playing very nice. A little quicker when the sun is out as well but tricky conditions with the wind today, for sure.”
But another high seed fell and unfortunately for the home fans it was Caroline Garcia. The French No. 1 couldn’t hold a set and a break lead as Anna Blinkova won it 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. The Russian needed nine match points to collect her first career Top 5 win.
“She managed the crowd very well and kept very calm after having so many match points,” Garcia said.
“Obviously very disappointing with the result and to be out of the tournament in the second round and I wanted to do more, but it’s tennis.”
2022 NCAA champion from Texas Peyton Stearns earned her first Slam third round shocking former winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.
In other action, 2022 semifinalist Daria Kasatkina sent off former runner-up Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 6-4. Yulia Putintseva upended No. 19 seed Qinwen Zheng in three 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. No. 24 seed Anastasia Potapova bested Mayar Sherif of Egypt 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. No. 27 seed Irina-Camelia Begu eased past former finalist and 36-year-old Sara Errani 6-3, 6-0.
Former finalist Sloane Stephens continues to look good as she routed Russia’s Varvara Gracheva in straights 6-2, 6-1. Stephens has won 11 of her last 12.
Karolina Muchova is also dangerous as she overcame former semifinalist Nadia Podoroska 6-3, 0-6, 6-3. Clara Tauson had to work to defeat Leylah Fernandez 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in a battle of 20-year-olds. One-time runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ousted the 15th-seeded Liudmila Samsonova in a match that went the distance 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. And Elina Svitolina won her seventh straight match topping Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
The Ukrainian star was still on a high after her husband’s big win last night.
“Yes, I watched him, but not live,” Svitolina said. “I was screaming in my room so if someone heard me it’s me cheering for Gael.
“It was an unbelievable match and I don’t know actually what he’s doing here now. I think he should be resting but I’m really thankful for him coming to support me, especially in this tough match.”
Tomorrow, the second round wraps up with No. 1 Iga Swiatek squaring off against American Claire Liu. Swiatek took their only previous battle in the 2023 Indian Wells R64.
No. 4 Elena Rybakina takes on Czech teen Linda Noskova, No. 6 Coco Gauff meets Rabat finalist Julia Grabher, No. 7 Ons Jabeur clashes with Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin and former semifinalist No. 20 Madison Keys collides with countrywoman Kayla Day.
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