The top three seeds at this year’s final grand slam at the Roland Garros in Paris have continued their championship winning form as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem all scored straight sets win in the second round. They have been joined by the contenders for the title Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, the Hamburg champion Andrey Rublev and the in form Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the round of 32. In a historic first in Open Era five Italians have made it to the third round of a grand slam. Hugo Gaston, ranked no. 239 remains the lone Frenchman in the draw.
Novak Djokovic who had only dropped five games in the first round against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, matched his performance against the Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in his 6-1,6-2,6-2 win on Wednesday. Nadal, the twelve time champion and the King of Clay dropped only four games to the little known American Mackenzie McDonald 6-1,6-0,6-3. Dominic Thiem, the U.S. Open champion last month and the runner up last two years in Paris was made to work little harder by the former Top Ten American Jack Sock, but came through with a 6-1,6-3,7-6(6) win and next faces the Norwegian Casper Ruud in what is a brutal draw for the World number three ranked Austrian.
The 25th ranked Ruud who had reached the semi-finals at Rome and in Hamburg, was made to work all the way by the American Tommy Paul in 6-1,1-6,6-3,1-6,6-3 win. Fifth seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas who had registered his first ever two sets down victory in the first round against Spaniard Jaime Munar, was very impressive in his 6-1,6-4,6-2 demolition of the Argentina born Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas. The sixth seeded German Alexander Zverev, finalist in New York who missed both the clay court tournaments prior to Paris, beat the local favourite Pierre Hugues-Herbert, better known for his doubles, in five sets, 2-6,6-4,7-6(5),4-6,6-4. Diego Schwartzman who was a finalist in Rome, defeated the fatigued Italian Lorenzo Giustino, 6-1,7-5,6-0. Giustino had won his six hour plus marathon first round encounter against the Frenchman Corentin Moutet 18-16 in the fifth set.
Matteo Berretini joined four Italians in to the third round after a four set win over the South African Lloyd Harris 6-4,4-6,6-2,6-3 in the last match of the second round. He joins Lorenzo Sonego, a 7-6(8),6-1,7-5 winner over the Kazakh Alexander Bublik. The 2018 semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato continued his return to form with a 6-3,6-2,5-7,6-2 win over the Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero who had little fight left in him after his 14-12 fifth set win over fellow countryman Federico Delbonis in the first round. The teenage sensation Jannik Sinner beat the French qualifier Benjamin Bonzi 6-2,6-4,6-4. Stefano Travaglia required five sets to battle past Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-4,2-6,7-6(7),4-6,6-2 and now takes on Rafael Nadal in the third round.
Hugo Gaston is the lone Frenchman in the men’s draw after a 6-4,7-6(4),3-6,6-2 win over Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan. The 20 year wildcard from Toulouse next faces the 16th seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, the 2015 champion, who advanced with a 6-3,6-2,3-6,6-1 over the German Dominik Koepfer. The American Taylor Fritz, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, the former world number four Kevin Anderson, Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, Chilean Christian Garin and Russian Karen Khachanov were the other notable winners.
Canada’s highest ranked player Denis Shapovalov, seeded ninth was the biggest seed to fall in the second round as he failed to serve out the match at 5-4 and 6-5 in the final set against the little known Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena. Shapovalov committed 106 unforced winners and paid a heavy price in his five hour defeat 5-7,7-6(5),3-6,6-3,6-8 against the 101 ranked Spaniard. The American John Isner, seeded 21st, suffered a shock 4-6,4-6,6-2,4-6 loss at the hands of fellow American Sebastian Korda, a qualifier who is also the son of the 1992 finalist Petr Korda who won his lone grand slam title at the Australian Open as a native of the Czech Republic. The Argentine Federico Coria ended the hopes of the highest ranked Frenchman left in the draw, the 23rd seeded Benoit Paire after a 7-6(3),4-6,6-3,6-1 win.
The following is the line up for the third round with my pick mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Daniel Elahi Galan (-)
Christian Garin (20) v. Karen Khachanov (15)
Roberto Bautista Agut (10) v. Pablo Carreno Busta (17)
Matteo Berretini (7) v. Daniel Altmaier (-)
Marton Fucsovics (-) v. Thiago Monteiro (-)
Andrey Rublev (13) v. Kevin Anderson (-)
Grigor Dimitrov (18) v. Roberto Carballes Baena (-)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) v. Aljaz Bedene (-)
Taylor Fritz (27) v. Lorenzo Sonego (-)
Diego Schwartzman (12) v. Norbert Gombos (-)
Stanislas Wawrinka (16) v. Hugo Gaston (-)
Dominic Thiem (3) v. Casper Ruud (28)
Alexander Zverev (6) v. Marco Cecchinato (-)
Jannik Sinner (-) v. Federico Coria (-)
Sebastian Korda (-) v. Pedro Martinez (-)
Rafael Nadal (2) v. Stefano Travaglia (-)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]