Djokovic sails into French Open third round while Raducanu's Paris trip is over

Serbian defeats Molcan in straight sets while Briton loses 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic on his way to victory over Alex Molcan in the French Open second round at Roland Garros. EPA
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World No 1 Novak Djokovic booked his place in the third round of the French Open after defeating Slovakia's Alex Molcan 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 at Roland Garros on Wednesday.

Molcan was able to push Djokovic to a third-set tiebreaker but threw his racket down in frustration after hitting the ball into the net – his 34th unforced error – to fall 6-3 behind before the Serbian closed it out.

Next up for the 20-time Grand Slam winner and defending champion is 32-year-old Slovenian Aljaz Bedene.

Third seed Alexander Zverev fought back from two sets down and saved a match point to win a thriller against Argentina's Sebastian Baez 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5.

Just as fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas had in his five-set win over Lorenzo Musetti on Tuesday night, Zverev was able to muster a mid-match turnaround on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The German struggled to find his peak level in a three-hour, 36-minute victory, but his big serve and thumping backhand were the foundation for a stirring comeback.

“I just tried to fight,” said Zverev. “You have to win these kind of matches, when you're not playing well because you can't always play well.”

British 10th seed Cameron Norrie set up a third-round match with Russia's Karen Khachanov after beating Australian qualifier Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

In the women's draw, US Open champion Emma Raducanu saw her Paris campaign ended in the second round by Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The 12th-seeded Briton, who had to dig deep in her opening match to come from a set down to beat Czech qualifier Linda Noskova, took the first set before collapsing to a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 defeat.

Raducanu has now lost in the second round in her two Grand Slams since the win in New York last year, although the 19-year-old had been struggling with a back injury in the run-up to Roland Garros.

It has been a solid effort on her debut clay-court season, though, with Raducanu winning six of her 11 matches. “I still have got quite a long way to go on this surface,” she said. “I had a good first experience on clay and definitely can improve a lot more than I play right now.

“Before I would let the losses affect me more than right now,” she added. “Now I look at everything as a lesson and know exactly where I went wrong and where I can improve.

“I definitely look at these matches as a way to improve my own game. I am playing good tennis, training well.”

Sasnovich will now take on Germany's Angelique Kerber after the former world No 1 and three-time Slam winner knocked out French teenager Elsa Jacquemot 6-1, 7-6.

Kerber, who won a 14th career title in Strasbourg last week, said: “It's great to be back here and I hope I can still play a few more matches.

“When you achieve everything you want, you play for the love of the game. I just love the sport. Let's see how long I can keep playing at a high level.”

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari was knocked out 7-6, 7-6 by Czech Karolina Muchova, leaving red-hot favourite Iga Swiatek and third seed Paula Badosa as the only two players from the top six left in the women's draw.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is through after beating Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 7-6 and secured a third-round clash with Jil Teichmann, after the Swiss defeated Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic 6-4, 6-1.

American teenager Coco Gauff, who reached the quarter-finals last year before losing to eventual winner Barbora Krejcikova, is safely into the next round after the 18th seed beat Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck 6-1, 7-6.

There was huge disappointment for Mayar Sherif, though, when the Egyptian was forced to pull out of her match with Slovenia's 24th seed Tamara Zidansek due to stress fracture in her foot.

Sherif had become the first woman from her country to win a main draw match at Roland Garros after defeating Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk 6-3, 7-5 in the first round on Tuesday.

Updated: May 25, 2022, 5:25 PM
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