Osaka and Thiem Survive Tests, Serena Williams, Djokovic Cruise into French Open Third Round
(May 30, 2019) World No.1 Naomi Osaka survived another big challenge to advance to the third round of the French Open when she rallied from 6-4, 4-2 down to beat former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka on Thursday in Paris 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round.
Azarenka, ranked 43 in the world, jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set to put the Japanese player on the defensive from the start.
Today I kind of felt like a challenger,” Osaka said of the match against the two-time major winner Azarenka. “Like, I know she went to the semis here before, so obviously she has a lot more experience here.” “I’m still kind of new at this.”
“I feel like I didn’t dip at all during this match, and she was just playing so well. I was just waiting for her to get a little bit tired,” Osaka said to media.
Osaka has now won 16 straight matches at majors. She’s still on the hunt to win her third consecutive major after capturing the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open.
Three-time Roland Garros winner Serena Williams had no problems on Court Philippe Chatrier against Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara. The world No. 10 dismissed the 238th ranked player from Japan 6-3, 6-2. Williams will play U. S. countrywoman 20-year-old Sofia Kenin, ranked No. 35 in the world.
Other seeded women advancing were: defending champion and third seed Simona Halep and (8) Ashleigh Barty. Women’s seeds losing on Thursday were: (11) Aryna Sabalenka, (16) Q. Wang, (21) Daria Kasatkina, (24) Caroline Garcia, (25) Su-wei Hsieh and (29) Maria Sakkari.
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem won a struggle against Kazakh opponent Alexander Bublik to move into the third round with a 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-5 win. Bublik surprised the Austrian with trick shots – an underhand serve, spins and drop shots.
It’s Thiem’s 20th match win at Roland Garros. He’ll face Pablo Cuevas next. Cuevas advanced leading 7-6 (3), 6-3, 2-1 when 28th seed Kyle Edmund retired the match due to a left knee injury.
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No. 1 Novak Djokovic made easy work of Lucky Loser Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. The 14-time major winner had a special guest in his box the match – his son Stefan.
The Serb has now won 23 straight matches at majors. He’s seeking a second “Nole” slam – holding all four major titles at once. His streak goes back to last year’s Wimbledon title. He last did it in 2015.
Djokovic will play qualifier Salvatore Caruso in the third round. Caruso upset 26 seed Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Juan Martin del Potro survived a five-set contest against Yoshihito Nishioka 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-2.
“It was a tough match,” said the Argentine. “Long rallies, long points. We made a great match, and in the end I think I played a little bit better than him.”
Other men’s seeds advancing were: (5) Alexander Zverev, (10) Karen Khachanov, (13) Borna Coric, (14) Gael Monfils, and (18) Roberto Bautita Agut.