Sabalenka, Stephens Set Sweet 16 At French Open, Pegula Blown Away; Teens Gauff v Andreeva

by Staff | June 2nd, 2023, 6:33 pm
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Aryna Sabalenka rolled into her first week 2 at the French Open dismissing Kamilla Rakhimova 6-2, 6-2.

The world No. 2 had lost her last three at this stage in Paris the last three years, but today dropped just four games as she improves to 10-0 this year in Slams, and this week she didn’t drop a set.

“In the middle of the second set, I thought, ‘I never get through this one’, but then I was like, ‘Okay, Aryna, this is not something you have to be focused on’,” Sabalenka said of finally breaking the third round.

“I put away these thoughts really quick in the match. Of course, this win gave me so much belief in myself here in Paris, so I know that on the next match I will go there and do everything I can to win another match.”

Up next will be former finalist Sloane Stephens. The 30-year-old American has got hot just in time for her favorite event. Stephens came from a break down in the third to defeat Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Stephens has now won 12 of her last 14 matches but is 0-3 lifetime against the Belarussian basher.

American No. 1 Jessica Pegula stumbled out of the French Open as Elise Mertens hammered the 29-year-old 6-1, 6-3.

“I was very happy to win in two sets. I think I played well. I was delighted to play on this amazing court. Thank you to everyone, it was amazing,” Mertens said.

“The first set was easy, it was amazing. During the second set at 4-3, it was really difficult. I was very happy to win that game. You never know how it can end. I was very happy to win that game and the match.”

The Belgian will now take on former finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who knocked out 24th-seeded Anastasia Potapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

2022 semifinalist Daria Kasatkina gave a rude lesson to the upset-minded American Peyton Stearns 6-0, 6-1. She’ll now face former world No. 3 Elina Svitolina who won her 8th straight match hanging on to beat Anna Blinkova 2-6, 6-2, 7-5.

“I’m trying to take one match at a time, try to give everything what I have each match,” said Svitolina.

“Like last two matches didn’t go my way in the first set, but I tried to fight back, could push through these tough moments to find my rhythm back. This is good sign that I’m doing something right.”
Also, Karolina Muchova bounced the 27th-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-2. And Russian lucky loser Elina Avanesyan sent out (Denmark’s Clara Tauson 3-6, 6-1, 7-5. Muchova will meet Avanesyan on Sunday.

Tomorrow, the third round concludes with a tasty teen tilt between former finalist Coco Gauff and new star Mirra Andreeva. The 16-year-old Andreeva has won 21 of 23 matches this spring.

Tournament favorite Iga Swiatek will meet Xinyu Wang in a first-time tour-level collision. No. 4 Elena Rybakina will battle Sara Sorribes Tormo, No. 7 Ons Jabeur faces Olga Danilovic, No. 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia locks up with No. 23 Ekaterina Alexandrova, Lesia Tsurenko takes on Bianca Andreescu, Kayla Day squares off against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Bernarda Pera takes on Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

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