French Open: Zverev Survives Scare While Djokovic Wins, Sakkari Out

World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic eased into the French Open third round on Wednesday by defeating the new pupil of his former long-time coach. Top seed Djokovic saw off Slovakia’s Alex Molcan, who is coached by Marian Vajda, the man who inspired most of his 20 Slam titles, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4). Djokovic fired 10 aces and 40 winners past his 38th-ranked opponent and will next face Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene for a place in the last 16.

Zverev survives

Third seed and 2021 semi-finalist Alexander Zverev saved a match point against Argentina’s Sebastian Baez as he battled back from two sets down to reach the third round of the French Open on Wednesday.

Zverev overcame Baez 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5 after three hours and 36 minutes.

He will play either Tallon Griekspoor or Brandon Nakashima for a place in the last 16.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari crashes out

Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari crashed out in the French Open second round Wednesday, going down 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4) to Czech world number 81 Karolina Muchova.

Sakkari, a 2021 Roland Garros semi-finalist, is the fifth women’s top-10 seed to lose in the first four days at Roland Garros.

Muchova has matched her run to the third round from 12 months ago and will next play 27th seed Amanda Anisimova, who reached the last four in Paris three years ago.

“It’s very special, she’s an amazing player. It was a big fight, a little bit of a test and challenge for me and I’m happy I took it the way I did,” said Muchova.

The 25-year-old reached the semi-finals at last year’s Australian Open and the last eight for the second time at Wimbledon, but is playing just her fourth tournament since the US Open after struggling with an abdominal injury.

“It’s an amazing feeling I can play again fully.”

Former Grand Slam champions Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka advanced to the third round of the French Open on Wednesday, as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal prepared to keep their Roland Garros title ambitions on course.

Kerber, who won her first clay title in six years on the eve of the French Open, defeated French wildcard and 2020 junior champion Elsa Jacquemot 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) as she seeks the only Grand Slam missing from her collection.

The German 21st seed next plays Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the Belarusian who knocked out US Open champion Emma Raducanu 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

“I think the last week was really important for me to get the title,” former number one Kerber said of her Strasbourg triumph.

“I had a lot of confidence. 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.”

Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open winner, beat 2014 Roland Garros semi-finalist Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 7-6 (7/3). She meets Swiss 23rd seed Jil Teichmann for a place in the fourth round.

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