Novak Djokovic on Monday started his bid for a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam singles title with a straight-sets victory over Aleksandar Kovacevic at Roland Garros, as Carlos Alcaraz dazzled in his opening victory.
Two-time Roland Garros champion Djokovic held off a late rally from his American opponent on Court Philippe Chatrier to clinch a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1) victory.
He has still not lost in his opening match of a major since the 2006 Australian Open.
“I want to dominate whoever I play against regardless of the circumstances and who is across the net, but sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic is only seeded third this year despite the absence of his great rival and 14-time winner Rafael Nadal through injury, behind world No. 1 Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.
He is tied with Nadal for most men’s Slam singles trophies and just one behind the 23 of Serena Williams. Margaret Court holds the all-time record of 24.
Alcaraz began his attempt to win a second Grand Slam title in fine style against Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli, the world No. 159 playing in a Grand Slam for the first time.
The top seed powered to a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory, despite also struggling to get over the line.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka, 38, out-fought Albert Ramos-Vinolas over 4 hours, 35 minutes, winning 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 1-6, 6-4 to set up a clash with Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“It’s one of the big reasons why I keep playing is to relive those emotions,” Wawrinka said of the five-set marathon.
In the women’s draw, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina won her first match at a Slam event since last year’s Australian Open, beating last year’s semi-finalist Martina Trevisan 6-2, 6-2.
The former world No. 3 recently returned to the tour following maternity leave, having previously taken a break from the sport citing health problems and mental exhaustion following Russia’s invasion of her home country.
“These kind of moments, these little wins ... on a level, which is very low, but these moments bring joy to people of Ukraine,” Svitolina said.
French fifth seed Caroline Garica gave the home fans something to cheer for with a 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-4 win over Wang Xiyu. Former runner-up Sloane Stephens dumped out 16th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-4 and 2021 losing finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 6-2.
There is a reverential hush from the respectful crowd as Pakistan’s Sadia Iqbal opens the bowling to Bangladesh’s Shathi Rani in the Asian Games women’s bronze medal match in Hangzhou, China. The sound of leather on willow echoes around the purpose-built cricket ground, which until recently was full of sunflowers. The atmosphere is more village green than the fever pitch of, say, Pakistan’s Gaddafi Stadium, but the few hundred spectators are fully engaged — even if many admit to never seeing the game before. Almost entirely Chinese, the crowd “oohs and aahs” and clap when a wicket falls, cheer every boundary and
EARLY LOSSES: Some sports have already started at the Asian Games in Hangzhou ahead of the opening ceremony on Saturday, including volleyball, with a Taiwan loss South Korea’s bid for a third straight men’s gold medal in soccer at the Asian Games got off to the perfect start with a 9-0 thrashing of Kuwait on Tuesday, but coach Hwang Sun-hong is giving his players little time to enjoy it. With a more testing group match against Thailand today, Hwang is wary of complacency creeping in after his side ran riot against Kuwait in Jinhua, China, southwest of host city Hangzhou. “We’ll pretend this match never happened,” Hwang said after the Kuwait game, Yonhap news agency reported. “We have even more difficult matches coming up later, and we have
China hopes to make a splash with the Asian Games, which officially open tomorrow, but nationwide excitement has been muted as the economy sputters and some question the cost of the sporting extravaganza. Delayed a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the quadrennial Games, kicking off in the eastern city of Hangzhou, will be China’s biggest sporting event in more than a decade, with more than 12,000 athletes from 45 nations competing in 40 sports. Organizers this week expressed confidence in holding a “magnificent” Games, thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “important instructions” and great, broad-based efforts. Analysts agree the event would likely
Hangzhou stepped up security ahead of yesterday’s opening of the Asian Games in China, as organizers sought to get the sporting extravaganza off to a smooth start, with Chinese President Xi Jinping among the dignitaries in attendance. Roads in a sizeable “traffic control area” around the city’s Olympic stadium were blocked off, at least one metro station was shut and other Games centers were closed ahead of a ceremony organizers described as “mesmerizing.” Some of those making the trek toward the main stadium were left frustrated by the size of the sealed-off area. “I think it shows they’re too nervous, right?” said 45-year-old