French Open champion Nadal reaches third round on empty court

Defending champion Rafael Nadal celebrated his 35th birthday with a very familiar touch in the extraordinary silence of the empty center court of the Paris-French Open. It is another victory over Richard Gasquet.

Since his first match in 2004, Nadal has defeated Gasquet 6-0, 7-5, 6-2 and improved his career to 17-0. Gasquet hasn’t won a single set since losing to Nadal 12 times in the past. Not since 2008.

Court Philippe-Chatrie had no fans witnessing Nadal’s 102nd victory at Roland Garros, and all were sent off by 9 pm due to coronavirus rules.

The 13th champion won the first set in 24 minutes.

“I think I played a great first set,” Nadal said. “I don’t feel Richard played so badly to get that score, but I haven’t missed that much.”

Gasquet recovered from 5-2 in the next set, reaching 5-5, but missed an easy volley on the net in Game 12. Nadal broke again and took the second set.

Nadal won his second match point and, alongside Bjorn Borg, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl, had a 17-0 record against his open-era opponents. Top-ranked Djokovic and Federer, who have two 17-0 records, advanced to the third round earlier.

Nadal wasn’t too concerned about finishing near 11:30 pm in humid conditions.

“The important thing is to feel that you are playing well,” he said.

Third-seeded Nadal will face Federer’s record-breaking 21st major, followed by seedless Cameron Norrie.

In the women’s play, top-ranked Ashleigh Barty retired in the second round, and the tournament ended with neither the top two female seeds nor the top three women in the ranking.

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty of Australia retired after being injured in the second round against Magda Linette of Poland on the fifth day of the French Open tennis tournament held at Roland Garros in Paris, France on June 3, 2021. , Say goodbye. (Michelle Euler / AP photo)

However, defending champion Iga Swiatek defeated Rebecca Peterson 6-1 and 6-1 at Court Sifion Mathieu and struggled to the third round. The 8th seed pole will then face the 30th Anett Kontaveit.

Swiertech, who turned 20 on Monday, aims to be the first woman to win the Roland Garros title in a row since Justine Henin won her third straight title in 2007.

2019 champion Bertie drew 6-1 2-2 when he signaled that he couldn’t continue to play against Polish opponent Magda Linette at Court Philippe-Chatrie.

“I was fighting the pain, but it was so bad that it wasn’t safe as I said,” Bertie said of an injury that worsened during pre-convention training.

Federer defeated Marin Cilic 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, fifth in the majors and ninth win in 10 games against the big serve Croatia.

“I think it was a really good match and I was a little surprised. I didn’t think I could play at this level for two and a half hours with Marin,” Federer said. “This shows that I have some reserves and energy left. That’s really good for my confidence.”

Eighth-seeded Federer then faces unseeded Dominik Koepfer, who defeated thirty-seeded Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Fritz left the court in a wheelchair after appearing to hurt his knee.

Federer argued with referee Emmanuel Joseph after being warned of the time for slow play during the second set at Court Philippe-Chatrie.

After winning the first round on Monday, Federer talked about the strange feeling of having to handle his towel because of the rules of the coronavirus and how it upset his rhythm. Insisted on the point to Emmanuel and Cilic.

“I understand the rules,” Federer protested to Cilic. “(But) I go from corner to corner to get a towel. I didn’t do that on purpose.”

Federer, whose 40th birthday is August 8, hasn’t appeared on the Grand Slam stage since losing to Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinals on January 30, 2020.

Djokovic defeated clay court specialist Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 and saved eight of the nine breakpoints he faced. An 18-time Grand Slam champion, he will then face seedless Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis.

Elsewhere, Spain’s 18-year-old qualifier Carlos Alcalaz defeated No. 28 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Alkaraz has been the youngest man to advance to the third round at Roland Garros since 1992, and the youngest to advance to the third round of the Grand Slam since Nadal at the 2004 Australian Open.

This is the third time that the top two women’s seeds have disappeared before the third round at the professional Grand Slam tournament that began in 1968. The same is true for the 2014 French Open (1st place Serena Williams and 2nd place Li Na) and the 2018 US Open (1st place Simona Halep and 2nd place Caroline Wozniacki). It was.

In addition to Bertie’s departure, No. 2 Naomi Osaka abstained in the first round because she was absent from the tournament due to mental health reasons. Halep in 3rd place abstained before the tournament due to a leg injury.

Japanese player Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka of Japan will fight in the first round against Romanian Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open held in Paris, France on May 30, 2021. (Christian Hartmann / Reuters)

Bertie started the match with a bandage on his left thigh, but it soon became apparent that he was struggling with a long rally and first serve and couldn’t move properly.

Bertie demanded a medical time-out at the end of the first set, temporarily leaving the court for treatment and stopping after Lynette hit the ace.

Last year’s runner-up Sofia Kenin defeated Haley Baptist 7-5, 6-3, while fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina defeated Ang Lee 6-0, 6-4.

Samuel Peter and Jerome Pagmaia

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