Swiatek, Gauff Moves Closer To French QF Collision; Sabalenka, Pegula v Mertens Fri.

by Staff | June 1st, 2023, 6:49 pm
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A day after her 22nd birthday, Iga Swiatek won her 23rd career match at the French Open pulling away from Clare Liu 6-4, 6-0.

Liu hung tough with the world No. 1 for the 45 minutes or so until the floodgates opened and Swiatek won the last seven games and 9 of the last 10 from 3-all in the first.

“It wasn’t easy at all, especially when we’re constantly switching sides, one time with the wind, one time against,” Swiatek said.

“I needed to adjust to that. I’m very happy I learned from the first set and played a lot better in the second set.

“Patience is so important on clay. It’s so easy to reset the rally. I’m that kind of player who just needs to get used to the wind. I’m just still trying to get the rhythm. You just have to feel it.”

Coco Gauff kept pace with her 2022 conqueror rolling past Rabat finalist Julia Grabher 6-2, 6-3. The American teen recovered from a 2-0 deficit in the second to win six of the last seven games.

“She’s not an easy player,” Gauff said of Grabher. “She likes to dictate with her forehand and hit those high, heavy balls. I think I did a good job of taking the time away from her, really rushing her. I think I played well at the net, too, and making those adjustments.

“Got broken a couple of times, but I was able to break back mostly.”

Swiatek and Gauff are the lone seeds left in the top quarter. They will meet on Wednesday is form holds.

Former semifinalist Madison Keys was stunned by countrywoman Kayla Day 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Rome champion Elena Rybakina won her eighth straight besting 18-year-old Czech Linda Noskova 6-3, 6-3.

As the second round closed up, No. 7 Ons Jabeur toppled Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin 6-2, 6-3. No. 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia ousted Russian teen Diana Shnaider 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to reach her first Slam third round.

(Bernarda Pera of the United States upset the 22nd-seeded Donna Vekic 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The 23rd-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova cruised past Anna-Lena Friedsam in straights 6-2, 6-0. Sara Sorribes Tormo continued her comeback defeating former quarterfinalist Petra Martic 6-4, 6-1.

Bianca Andreescu dismissed American Emma Navarro 6-1, 6-4. And 16-year-old teen Mirra Andreeva had a comfortable win over France’s Diane Parry 6-1, 6-2 to set up an intriguing clash Saturday with Gauff.

“When I was her age, I didn’t think about,” Gauff said of Andreeva’s age. “And I’m sure she’s not thinking about her age on the court. And all the people who’ve played against me when I was her age, I don’t know if they were thinking about my age. I doubt they were.

“I feel like it really doesn’t play a factor regarding when we step on the court. Maybe there could be an experience thing that maybe could show, but honestly I really doubt it when it’s someone of her level.”

Andreeva hopes for much, much bigger things.

“I know that Djokovic, he did 22 Grand Slams or 23, so I want to go until 25, if it will be possible. I don’t know,” Andreeva said.

“But I will just play. For now my goal is to win match by match, to win next match.”

On Friday, the third round opens with second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka taking on Kamilla Rakhimova in a first-time tour-level meeting.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula faces No. 28 Elise Mertens. Mertens has won both their tour-level encounters most recently in 2021 Dubai.

No. 9 Daria Kasatkina takes on former NCAA winner Peyton Stearns, No. 24 Anastasia Potapova gets former finalist Pavlyuchenkova, No. 27 Irina-Camelia Begu faces Karolina Muchova, Yulia Putintseva meets Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina locks up with Anna Blinkova and Elina Avanesyan takes on Clara Tauson.

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