Thu, May 30, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Tsitsipas claws into Roland Garros third round

AFP, PARIS

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas returns to Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien during their Roland Garros men’s singles second-round match in Paris yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas yesterday dug deep to reach the French Open third round with a tense four-set victory over plucky Bolivian Hugo Dellien.

The rising Greek star, expected to reach the latter stages at Roland Garros, fought back to win 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 on Court Simonne Mathieu.

Tsitsipas next faces either Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena or Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic in the last 32.

The 20-year-old started strongly with an early break, but appeared unsettled following a medical timeout for Dellien after the world No. 86 appeared to twist his ankle.

Dellien quickly sealed the opening set, but Tsitsipas raced through the next two sets.

Despite letting a 4-2 lead in the fourth set slip, the 25-year-old Dellien just would not go away, saving three match points from 0-40 down in the 10th game to level at 5-5.

However, Tsitsipas did secure a third-round spot in Paris for the first time in his opponent’s next service game, curling a forehand up the line on his fourth match point.

Rafael Nadal powered into the third round with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory over German qualifier Yannick Maden to continue his bid for a 12th Roland Garros title.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion was in dominant form for the majority of the match and is next to face Belgian 27th seed David Goffin for a place in the second week.

“He [Maden] is a good player. He had won four matches so was full of confidence,” Nadal said. “For me it was an important victory.”

WOMEN’S SINGLES

Former champion Garbine Muguruza and last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens both posted straight-set wins to reach the third round of the French Open.

On a sunny morning in the French capital, Muguruza beat Johanna Larsson 6-4, 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Seeded 19th this year, Muguruza won the title at Roland Garros in 2016 when she upset Serena Williams in the final.

Spain’s Muguruza is expected to face tougher opposition in her next match against ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine, who progressed to the third round without hitting a shot.

Svitolina was set to play 67th-ranked Kateryna Kozlova, but organizers said she withdrew with “intercostal pain.” Svitolina twice reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals.

Stephens, who lost to Simona Halep in last year’s Roland Garros final, needed a bit more time to prevail 6-1, 7-6 (3) against the gritty but error-prone Sara Sorribes Tormo.

In a match that featured 11 breaks of serve, Stephens could not hold on to a 3-0 lead in the second set and Sorribes Tormo twice had the opportunity to level at 1-set apiece on her serve.

A turning point came in the 11th game when the 22-year-old Spaniard hit two consecutive double-faults to drop serve.

The seventh-seeded Stephens hit a series of winners in the tiebreaker and sealed the match with a backhand down the line.

“Just decided to keep it exciting, to play a bit longer on that court,” Stephens said, jokingly. “I missed it from last year.”

WOMEN’S DOUBLES

In the first round of the women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic took just 48 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-0, 6-1 victory over American duo Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez.

The third seeds did not face a single break point and converted five of eight, winning 90 percent of their first-serve points and 66 percent on second serve to cruise into the second round.

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