French Open 2023: 5 biggest upsets on Day 3, ft. Daniil Medvedev, Victoria Azarenka
The third day of main draw action at the French Open was an eventful one, with a few high-profile casualties.
The likes of fourth seed Casper Ruud, sixth seed Holger Rune, and women's top seed Iga Swiatek sailed through to the next round, respectively beating Elias Ymer, Holger Rune, and Cristina Bucsa.
However, a few others weren't so fortunate, stumbling in the opening round to join a growing list of casualties. Here's a look at the five biggest upsets on the third day of the French Open on Tuesday:
#1 Daniil Medvedev
Clay is not Daniil Medvedev's strongest suit, but the World No. 2 arrived at the French Open in arguably the best form of his life.
Coming off his first Masters 1000 title on clay at Rome last week, the Russian was a legitimate contender to win Roland Garros. He was up there with the likes of top seed Carlos Alcaraz and third seed Novak Djokovic.
The former World No. 1 met his match in Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild, dropping a tight opener in a tie-break. In fact, had Wild not squandered two set points in the second set tie-break, Medvedev would have fallen into a deeper hole. The Russian capitalised on his opponent's lapse to take control of proceedings, taking a two sets to one lead, but Seyboth Wild had other ideas.
Dropping only seven games in the last two sets, Seyboth Wild achieved a number of milestones as he dumped out a tournament favourite. He became the first player to beat the second seed at the French Open since 2000 (Mark Philippousis beat Pete Sampras).
The 172nd-ranked Seyboth Wild also became the lowest-ranked player at the French Open to beat the second seed since No. 213 Mariano Zabaleta beat Petr Korda in 1998. The elated Brazilian said after the win:
"I have watched Daniil play for my entire junior career, up until today. Playing on this court against this kind of player and beating him is a dream come true. Walking on court, I just wanted to get to the net as much as possible and use my forehand against his, and it worked pretty well."
About his level of play against the World No. 2, Seyboth Wild, who clubbed 69 winners, added:
"It was pretty tough. I started cramping in the second set. I did my best and tried to play my best tennis and it worked. I am really happy with the way I played."
The Grand Slam debuatant next plays Guido Pella or Quentin Halys as Medvedev drops to 39-6 on the season.
#2 Barbora Krejcikova (2021 French Open champion)
Two years removed from her title run at the French Open, 13th seed Barbora Krejcikova bit the dust in the first round against Lesia Tsurenko.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian, ranked 66th in the world, conceded just six games in a one-hour, 27-minute win. Tsurenko, who reached the 2018 US Open quarterfinal, notched up her first top-20 win at a Grand Slam since beating then No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki at Flushing Meadows that year.
Tsurenko was clinical on the return, converting five of eight break points, and had fewer unforced errors (15) than Krejcikova. After winning only two games in the lopsided opener, the 13th seed looked to make a comeback, bursting to a 3-0 lead.
However, Tsurenko cut her resurgence short, winning six of the next seven games to move to the second round. The Ukrainian said after the win:
"I'm very happy with my win. It was a very tough draw for me because she's a great clay-court player. So I was really preparing myself for this match, and I'm really happy that I was able to play aggressive, to play, let's say, with character, and fight for every point."
Tsurenko next faces Lauren Davis for a place in the third round, while Krejcikova dropped her second straight match at Roland Garros since winning the 2021 title.
#3 Anhelina Kalinina
Anhelina Kalinina was another seeded casualty on the third day of the French Open.
The 25th seed won only five games as she went down in 82 minutes against 79th-ranked Diane Parry. A year after dumping out defending French Open champion Krejcikova in the first round, Parry reprised her giant-killing act, sending Kalinina packing.
On Court Simone-Mathieu, the reigning Paris 125 champion delighted the home faithful, striking 21 winners against Kalinina, who was coming off a run to the Rome final last week.
Parry next faces 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, the youngest player in this year's main draw. The qualifier conceded just three games on her Grand Slam debut against American Alison Riske-Amritraj.
#4 Victoria Azarenka
In a rare first-rounder between two Grand Slam champions, two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka - seeded 18th at this year's French Open - went down to 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.
The 42nd-ranked Andreescu looked set to extend her three-match losing streak when she found herself 6-2, 3-1 down against Azarenka. The 22-year-old, though, turned the match on its head, winning five straight games to restore parity.
In a competitive decider, she conceded four games to send Azarenka packing out of Roland Garros in the first round, saving an impressive 12 of 16 break points in the match. She also hit more winners (47) than Azarenka (33) and made fewer unforced errors (24-27).
An elated Andreescu said:
"I told myself if I even want to make this a close match, I have to change something. I told myself, go for it. I started serving better. I started returning better. Yeah, it definitely felt good. "My fighting spirit is back, so that feels nice."
She next faces Emma Navarro in the second round.
#5 Miomir Kecmanovic
Miomir Kecmanovic will rue his litany of missed chances - five match points to be exact - and failure to close out the match on serve in the decider - against Italian qualifier Andrea Vavassori.
The 31st seed looked on course for a routine win in his French Open opener when he led by two sets (7-5, 6-2) and twice led by a break. Although he squandered that advantage as a tiebreak ensued, Kecmanovic had four match points, but Vavassori saved them all to reduce arrears.
After another tiebreak set, Kecmanovic served for the match at 5-4, where he squandered another match point. Vavassori eventually sealed victory after five hours and five minutes, having won 64% of his 80 net approaches and striking a whopping 106 winners.
Having beat former World No. 1 Andy Murray in Madrid last month, Vavassori next faces the 231st-ranked Genaro Alberto Olivieri.