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HISTORIC TENNYS SCALP: Djokovic becomes 1st male to win a night session match at Roland Garros
World No.1 Novak Djokovic kicked off his French Open campaign with a routine 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win against American Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday, in the first men’s match to be scheduled in a night session.
With no spectators allowed on Court Philippe Chatrier due to a 9pm local curfew, the Serbian went through the gears as he dispatched his opponent seemingly effortlessly. Djokovic, chasing a 19th major title and looking to close the gap on 20-time Grand Slam champions Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, showed signs of frustration in the second set.
But, World No.66 Sandgren was never close to bothering him. The third set was a mere formality as Djokovic won five games in a row in what resembled a training session. “I am honoured to play the first men’s match at a Roland Garros night session. It was very interesting and it worked out pretty well,” said Djokovic after the match.
Meanwhile, German sixth seed Alexander Zverev blew hot and cold with his serve, but had enough artillery to take down Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(1) and reach the third round. The 182nd-ranked Safiullin, who mostly plies his trade on the challenger circuit, went toe-to-toe with Zverev in the opening set before the German got the crucial break in the 11th game.
Serving for the set, Zverev committed two double-faults to give away the advantage and had another in the tie-breaker. But, he recovered to take the lead with back-to-back aces on the Suzanne Lenglen court. Double faults continued to haunt the 24-year-old German in the second set as he smashed his racquet on the court in frustration and suffered a service break. However, Zverev recovered spectacularly to take the set by winning five games in a row.
Safiullin troubled Zverev in the third set and forced the German to dig deep. With the win, Zverev set up a clash against Serbia’s Laslo Djere, who came back from a two-set deficit to beat countryman Miomir Kecmanovic 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Azarenka advances to third round
Victoria Azarenka advanced to the third round of the French Open women’s singles event after overcoming Danish teenager Clara Tauson with a 7-5, 6-4 victory on Wednesday.
The Belarusian 15th seed started strong when she broke Tauson in the opening game of the match, but the Danish 18-year-old broke back to make it 2-2 in the first set. However, Azarenka broke again to take a 6-5 lead before serving out the opening set. The players then traded breaks twice in the second set, with both making a number of unforced errors. But, the vastly experienced Azarenka had the crucial break of serve again at 4-4 to take the lead.
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