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Saturday, November 26, 2022

French Open, normal in men, surprising in women

PARIS ( Associated Press) — The future of the draw in the men’s branch has brought some emotions, such as the spectacular comebacks achieved on Wednesday by Alexander Zverev, Carlos Alcaraz or Diego Schwartzman.

But the top 12 seeds have advanced to the third round, something that has not happened at the French Open since 2009, according to the ATP.

In the female branch another almost unprecedented situation arises, but on the opposite side. The defeats of the favorites have been the norm.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost last year’s final to Novak Djokovic, saved four set points after trailing 6-2 in the final tiebreak. He ended up beating 134th-ranked Zdenek Kolar 6-3, 7-6 (8), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6) on Thursday in a four-hour, six-minute matchup.

Kolar of the Czech Republic had not won a tour-level match before this week, but his ability to reach the shots earned the Greek credit in the end.

“Yes, it was very frustrating. It was not easy at all,” Tsitsipas said.

Daniil Medvedev looked more comfortable on clay.

The Russian beat Serb Laslo Djere 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the third round at Roland Garros for the second straight year.

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The reigning US Open champion entered the French Open with a 0-4 record, losing his first matches in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

He broke that losing streak by reaching the quarterfinals in 2021 and this week he has won all six sets he has played, losing just a total of 16 games.

The second-seeded Russian will meet 28th-seeded Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic for a ticket to the fourth round.

Casper Ruud of Norway advanced to the third round for the third year in a row by beating Finn Emil Ruusuvuori 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

In the women’s branch, for the first time in almost half a century, only three of the first 10 seeded have reached the round of 32.

The Spanish Paola Badosa is one of them. Instead, eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova was upset by an opponent ranked 227th in the world and participating in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

Third-seeded Badosa suffered a break of serve to start the third set of her duel with Kaja Juvan before regaining control of the match by winning four games in a row en route to a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 victory over the Slovenian and 68th in the world ranking on the court Suzanne Lenglen.

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The 24-year-old Spaniard’s best performance at a Grand Slam tournament was a quarter-final appearance at the 2021 French Open.

She will face 29th-seeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova in the third round.

For her part, Pliskova, seeded eighth, fell 6-2, 6-2 in the second round to Frenchwoman Leolia Jeanjean, a 26-year-old Frenchwoman, who attends by invitation.

“Even I don’t have an explanation. I didn’t realize what happened,” said Jeanjean, who was once a young prospect but has dealt with numerous injuries over the years. “It is my first Grand Slam tournament. I thought I would lose in the first round in straight sets and now I find that I have beaten a Top 10.”

Pliskova joins Barbora Krejcikova (2), Maria Sakkari (4), Anett Kontaveit (5), Ons Jabeur (6), Danielle Collins (9) and Garbiñe Muguruza (10) in leaving Roland Garros in the early stages.

Iga Swiatek (1st) extended her winning streak to 30, the longest since Serena Williams had 34 in 2013. The Pole beat Alison Riske 6-0, 6-2. Aryna Sabalenka (7th) won 6- 1, 6-3 to Madison Brengle.

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