June 16th, 2024

Rublev falls in the French Open third round while Swiatek, Gauff, Sinner, Tsitsipas move on

By Tom Nouvian, The Associated Press on May 31, 2024.

PARIS (AP) – Sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev berated his own behavior after he was knocked out of the French Open by Matteo Arnaldi 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-4 in the third round on Friday.

Rublev showed frustration throughout over his lack of precision, committing 37 unforced errors and four double faults. After netting a forehand in the third set, he smashed his racket on his knee four times.

“I am completely disappointed with myself, with the way I behaved, the way I performed, and I can’t remember ever behaving worse in a Grand Slam tournament,” he said. “It was the first time I ever behaved that badly.”

Arnaldi disagreed.

“He does those things almost every match. Personally, I don’t pay too much attention,” Arnaldi said. “But it definitely does give me a little confidence, because it means I am giving him trouble, and what I was doing was working.”

Rublev entered the French Open as a contender after winning the Madrid Open this month.

Arnaldi, ranked 35th, will face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Zhizhen Zhang, who were scheduled to play later Friday.

No. 2 Jannik Sinner of Italy progressed by downing Pavel Kotov 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The Australian Open champion next faces Corentin Moutet or Sebastian Ofner.

The 2021 French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas also cruised in beating Zhang Zhizhen 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 and has Arnaldi next.

The ninth-seeded Tsitsipas, who won the Monte Carlo Masters in April, feels his game is in good shape. The big-serving Greek’s reward for playing so well? “A very cold ice bath,” he said.

On the women’s side, top-ranked Iga Swiatek advanced to the fourth round by beating Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2. The three-time French Open champion from Poland won on her fourth match point, celebrating another Roland Garros victory on the day she turned 23.

Former French player Fabrice Santoro did the post-match interview and got the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier to join in with him as he sang “Happy Birthday.” Swiatek put her head in her hands, shyly, then lifted it up and smiled broadly.

The match was not the thrill-a-minute contest she had with Naomi Osaka in the second round, when Swiatek saved a match point and grabbed the last five games.

Still, Bouzkova held on. She saved one match point with a forehand winner, and Swiatek hit a forehand wide on another. A crisp forehand down the line sealed Swiatek’s win at the fourth attempt.

“Marie is a really good player because she’s good at defense, every ball will come back,” said Swiatek, who next faces unseeded Anastasia Potapova.

No. 3-seeded Coco Gauff beat Australian Open semifinalist Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 6-4. Gauff pressured Yastremska into committing 38 unforced errors on Court Philippe Chatrier, and converted five of her 11 break points.

Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto upset No. 17 Liudmila Samsonova 7-6 (4), 6-2 on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Cocciaretto, ranked 51st, reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

She will play Gauff next.

U.S. Open champion Gauff was a finalist at the French Open in 2022.

So was fellow American Sofia Kenin, back in 2020, the same year she won the Australian Open.

This time, Kenin lost 6-2, 7-5 to unseeded Danish player Clara Touson, who next plays two-time Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur. The eighth-seeded Tunisian won against No. 31-seeded Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova defeated Frenchwoman Chloé Paquet 6-1, 6-3. The fifth-seeded Czech, a runner-up at Roland Garros in 2019, next faces qualifier Olga Danilovic, ranked 125th.

Danilovic beat Donna Vekic 0-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8) to make her first fourth-round appearance at a Grand Slam tournament. Danilovic lay on her back and cried as she took in her victory.

For the fourth consecutive day, rain interrupted play. There was a delay of about 1 1/2 hours on Friday followed by another delay in the evening.


AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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