PARIS, May 31, 2018
Ten-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal dominated Guido Pella of Argentina for a spot in the third round at Roland Garros. The King of Clay sent down eight aces, hitting 37 winners and broke his opponent’s serve sevent times to secure a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen in two hours and three minutes.
Nadal recorded his 81st win in the French Open and set up a third-round match with local favourite Richard Gasquet. The 31-year-old Spaniard leads 15-0 in their head-to-head records.
“I’m very happy, I played more aggressive than in the first round, so I’m very happy with that,” said Nadal.
“Richard (Gasquet) is a very good friend. We’ve known each other since we were 11 or 12 years old so it will be very special to play again against him on such an important court for my career.”
It was a routine win for Simona Halep with the World No. 1 beating US-American Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1.
“It was really tough even if the score looks pretty easy,” Halep said in her post-match press conference. “Her balls were really tough to return, because of the topspin and the forehand, it’s really, really hard. She’s a lefty, as well, so I couldn’t return my best way.”
Up next for Halep is a rematch of her 2014 French Open semifinal clash with a resurgent Andrea Petkovic. The 30-year-old German defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands from the United States 6-0, 7-6 earlier in the day. Petkovic has reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2015 US-Open.
“On a level from 1 to 10, it’s like a strong 8. A very strong 8,” Petkovic commented on her performance.
Sharapova sets up clash with Pliskova
Two-time Roland Garros champion Maria Sharapova is through to face sixth seed Karolina Pliskova in the third round. The No. 28 seed from Russia edged past Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-5, 6-4.
“There were definitely ups and downs,” Sharapova said to the press, after the match, “Maybe that’s a result of not knowing each other’s games very well, and playing on a little bit of a different court that I felt maybe played a little bit differently than [Court] Suzanne Lenglen.”
“You just kind of feel a different rhythm on a different court,” Sharapova continued. “It took a little bit of time for me to adjust to that, more so today than maybe other days. But overall, I mean, in the moments when I needed to come through, I did.”
Sixth favourite Karolina Pliskova suffered a slow start but surged to a quick finish against former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Around the grounds
Richard Gasquet overcame Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0. The 27th seeded Frenchman will face Nadal in the next round.
South African Kevin Anderson fired 21 aces to knock off Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. Up next for the sixth seed is Mischa Zverev, who beat Sergiy Stakhovsky. With Alexander Zverev and brother Mischa winning their first two matches, it marks the first time brothers are in the third round at Roland Garros since 1979 when US-Americans Gene and Sandy Mayer accomplished the feat.
For the second match Diego Schwartzman wins by identical score, defeating Czech qualifier Adam Pavalasek 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the third round for second year in a row. Next up will Borna Coric.
Juan Martin Del Potro pummeled French veteran Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. The 36-year-old will hand up his racket by the end of the season and finishes with a 16-16 record at Roland Garros, highlighted by a quarterfinal in 2006 and a fourth round in 2008.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) 31. Mai 2018
In the women’s draw, 15th seed CoCo Vandeweghe crashed out after losing 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 to Lesia Tsurenko.
19th seed Magdalena Rybarikova eased into the third round with a 6-2, 6-4 win against Belinda Bencic.
In one of the final matches of Day 5, Serena Williams rallied past Ashleigh Barty 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to face Julia Görges in the next round.