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Monday, June 21, 2021

Medvedev overcomes clay court demons at Roland-Garros, Williams survives scare

Williams got back to the third round at Roland Garros, where she has won three of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles, by pulling away to beat 174th-ranked Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 Wednesday on Court Philippe Chatrier.

By: Reuters | Paris |
Updated: June 3, 2021 1:36:41 pm
Serena WilliamsUnited States Serena Williams serves to Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu during their second round match on day four of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev overcame his past struggles on clay to reach the third round of Roland-Garros, and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams advanced after a second-set scare, as a debate over the complicated relationship between athletes and the media spilled over into another day of competition.

Players’ media mandate was yet again under scrutiny as competitors voiced their support for Naomi Osaka but stopped short of publicly backing her press boycott. A reporter briefly lost his press credentials for stating he had logged on to a press conference with German Alexander Zverev from a supermarket.

Medvedev, who had a 0-4 record at Roland-Garros before this latest attempt, kept his bid alive with relative ease to set up a fourth-round clash with American Reilly Opelka, as Williams, who is gunning for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, fired off five aces to down Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Daniil Medvedev Daniil Medvedev of Russia in action.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori managed to scrape through with a brutal, four-hour, five-set win over Russia’s Karen Khachanov, while Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas made light work of Spain’s Pedro Martinez in a straight-sets victory.

On the women’s side, two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka, 31, showed off her vast experience to take down Danish teenager Clara Tauson in straight sets, while third-seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated her fellow Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich despite a bevy of unforced errors.

DANIIL MEDVEDEV RECOVERS TO DEFEAT PAUL

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev overcame a slow start to win 3-6 6-1 6-4 6-3 over unseeded American Tommy Paul and advance to the third round, his best showing at Roland-Garros after being knocked out in the first round of the tournament in the four previous years.

SERENA WILLIAMS OVERCOMES BUZARNESCU

Seventh seed Serena Williams was pushed the distance but beat Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 5-7 6-1 to move into the third round where the 39-year-old goes up against fellow American Danielle Collins.

TSITSIPAS ADVANCES

Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-3 6-4 6-3 to move into the third round.

Tsitsipas fired eight aces and 45 winners, converting eight of 18 break points.

NISHIKORI WINS FIVE-SET EPIC AGAINST KHACHANOV

Japan’s Kei Nishikori battled for four hours on Court Philippe-Chatrier before finally overcoming Russian 23rd seed Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-2 2-6 6-4 6-4. The Japanese will face Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen in round three.

“Trust me, I hate playing five sets. I don’t do it on purpose,” Nishikori said after a second straight five-setter which took his time on court at Roland Garros to just over eight hours.

AZARENKA DOWNS TAUSON IN STRAIGHT SETS

Victoria Azarenka, seeded 15th, came through in straight sets against Denmark’s Clara Tauson. The Belarusian converted five of her 13 break-point opportunities to secure her place in the third round.

FOGNINI FLATTENS FUCSOVICS, ISNER THROUGH

Italy’s Fabio Fognini, the 27th seed, edged a first-set tiebreak before seeing off Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6(8) 6-1 6-2.

American John Isner also reached the third round in straight sets, riding his booming serve to a 7-6(6) 6-1 7-6(5) victory over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic, dishing out 23 aces.

GAUFF/VENUS PAIRING BOW OUT OF DOUBLES

A combination of youth and experience did not quite click in the women’s doubles, with youngster Coco Gauff and her partner, 40-year-old Venus Williams, beaten 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 by Ellen Perez and Zheng Saisai in the first round.

SEEDED BAUTISTA AGUT LOSES TO LAAKSONEN

Spanish 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut was beaten 6-3 2-6 6-3 6-2 by unseeded Henri Laaksonen. The Swiss served well and won 10 points at the net, while also sending down 53 winners compared to Bautista Agut’s 17.

ANDUJAR DEFEATED IN FIVE SETS

Argentina’s Federico Delbonis beat Spaniard Pablo Andujar 4-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-2 in three hours and 23 minutes, hitting 54 winners, including 14 aces, on Court 13.

Andujar stunned fourth seed Dominic Thiem in the first round, recovering from two sets down to beat the Austrian 4-6 5-7 6-3 6-4 6-4, but ran out of steam in his second five-setter at Roland Garros.

RUUD POWERS PAST MAJCHRZAK

Danish 15th seed Casper Ruud sent down 39 winners and won 81% of his first-serve points en route to defeating Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak 6-3 6-2 6-4 on Court 7.

ZVEREV BEATS SAFIULLIN IN STRAIGHT SETS

Sixth seed Alexander Zverev of Germany negotiated two tiebreaks to beat Russian Roman Safiullin 7-6(4) 6-3 7-6(1). Zverev sent down 41 winners, including 15 aces, while also winning 80% of his first-serve points.

TAN TAMED BY VONDROUSOVA

Marketa Vondrousova, the 20th seed, ended local wild card Harmony Tan’s run with a crushing 6-1 6-3 victory. The Czech cruised past Tan without dropping serve, winning 80% of her first-serve points.

SWIATEK OPENS DOUBLES ACCOUNT

Defending singles champion Iga Swiatek and partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands dished out a bagel as they raced through their first-round doubles match, beating French duo Aubane Droguet and Selena Janicijevic 6-0 6-1.

BENCIC AND BRENGLE CRASH OUT IN STRAIGHT SETS

Swiss Belinda Bencic was knocked out after a 6-2 6-2 defeat by Russian Daria Kasatkina, who fired eight aces and 27 winners past the 10th seed to move into the third round for the first time since 2018.

American Madison Brengle lost 6-4 6-1 to Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, who converted five of six break points in a contest that lasted 65 minutes.

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