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French Open Round-up: 200 Slam wins for Rafael Nadal; Novak Djokovic triumphs

  • The defending women's champion Serena Williams too had an equally comfortable day on Thursday at the 2016 French Open.
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 27 May 2016, 03:19 IST
Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal recorded his 200th Grand Slam win

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal became the eighth man ever to record 200 wins at a Grand Slam as he triumphed 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 over the 99th ranked Facundo Bagnis to enter the third round of the 2016 French Open in Paris on Thursday. Joining him was the top seed and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic who is chasing his elusive maiden crown at Roland Garros.

The Spaniard had the slightly more comfortable win of the two as he needed just 1 hour 46 minutes to crush the challenge of the Argentine. Rafa, who now owns a 72-2 record at this claycourt Major, will next meet his compatriot Marcel Granollers.

Djokovic, meanwhile, was stretched by the veteran World No. 161 Steve Darcis who succeeded in breaking the Serb twice in this contest before succumbing to a 5-7, 3-6, 4-6 loss at the hands of the 29-year-old.

This was the 11-time Grand Slam winner’s 50th win at Roland Garros. He next squares off against the 66th ranked Aljaz Bedene of Great Britain.

Hard work for Tsonga; Ferrer, Berdych win

Sixth seed and home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had a tougher day at the office as he had to fight back from two sets down for his second round victory. In a contest between two former Australian Open runners-up, it was Marcos Baghdatis who surged to a two sets to love lead in front of a shellshocked French crowd.

But Tsonga managed to overturn the deficit for a 6-7(6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win. This was his 100th victory at a Major.

Also Read: French Open doubles: Leander Paes-Martina Hingis, Sania Mirza-Ivan Dodig progress; Purav Raja exits

Seventh seed Tomas Berdych and 11th seed David Ferrer too did not have it easy as they both conceded a set each in their respective matches. While Berdych beat Malek Jaziri 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, the 2013 runner-up Ferrer prevailed over Juan Monaco, 6(4)-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

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Thiem to meet Zverev again

Rising youngsters Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev also advanced to set up their third meeting in four weeks. The 22-year-old Thiem, who has already won two titles on clay this year, has a potential fourth round match against Nadal.

And the 13th seed seems to be heading well to that mouthwatering encounter as he reached the Roland Garros third round for the first time, courtesy of a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(3) win over Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

He next meets the 19-year-old Zverev, who pulled off a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over wild card Stephane Robert in his French Open main draw debut. The two faced off as recently as last Saturday in the ATP Nice final which Thiem won in three sets.

Another teen – the 47th ranked Borna Coric also entered the third round. The 19-year-old Croat outlasted the 20th seed Bernard Tomic, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(4), 7-6(6).

Also advancing were 12th seed David Goffin and 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Former semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis upset the 26th seed Joao Sousa to reach the third round. 

Williams sisters cruise

Serena Williams
Serena Williams in action against Teliana Pereira
 

The Williams sisters had quick outings on Day 5 as both Venus and Serena dropped just three games to advance to the third round. The top seed and defending champion Serena, who has begun her bid for an Open Era record-equalling 22nd Slam, broke the 81st ranked Teliana Pereira six times for a 6-2, 6-1 victory.

Her elder sister was equally impressive in a battle of youth versus experience. The 35-year-old former runner-up cruised past her 20-year-old compatriot Louisa Chirico with the identical scoreline to enter the third round for the first time since 2010.

Both the sisters have French challengers up next. While Serena faces the 26th seed Kristina Mladenovic, Venus has the 50th ranked Alize Cornet up for her.

Bacsinszky downs Bouchard; Ivanovic advances

In a much-anticipated showdown between two French Open semi-finalists, eighth-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky overcame Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-4. The 2015 semi-finalist did not have a favourable start as she trailed Bouchard 1-4 in the first set. But once she settled down and got back her rhythm, the 22-year-old found the going tough.

Bouchard conceded 10 games in a row to fall behind 4-6, 0-5 in a dramatic turnaround. The drama was far from over after that as the World No. 47 tried to claw her way back into the match and grabbed four consecutive games to close in on 4-5. The 2014 semi-finalist even had two break points to level the set.

But Bacsinszky managed to hold her nerves and pocket the win soon after that.

2008 winner Ana Ivanovic too recorded a win on Thursday to make it through to the third round. The Serb, who had reached the semi-finals last year, stormed out of the blocks to a 3-0 lead against the 91st ranked Kurumi Nara.

Even though the Japanese did break back late into the set, the 14th seed Ivanovic thumped her forehands to regain control of the match and emerge a 7-5, 6-1 winner.

12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, 15th seed Madison Keys, 18th seed Elina Svitolina, 22nd seed Dominika Cibulkova and 29th seed Daria Kasatkina also joined them in Round 3. 28th seed Andrea Petkovic was, however, upset by the 21-year-old Yulia Putintseva.

Published 27 May 2016, 03:13 IST
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