Djokovic Records 70th Match Win At Roland Garros

PARIS/STARNBERG, October 1, 2020

Novak Djokovic barely broke sweat on his way to a 70th win at Roland Garros against Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania on Thursday. The World No. 1 from Serbia celebrated a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory in just an hour and 23 minutes on Court Philipp-Chatrier and has dropped only 10 games in his two matches so far.

Djokovic has now tied Roger Federer for match wins at the French Open and trails only Rafael Nadal.

“Grand Slams are obviously the biggest tournaments in our sport. Historically, they count the most,” Djokovic said. “So of course winning that many matches on each slam is a great achievement, and it makes me proud, makes me happy. I always aim to play my best tennis in Grand Slams. I think Federer, Nadal, the biggest players in the last 10, 15 years, aim to always play their best in slams. Grand Slams are the only tournaments where we basically play best-of-five. Over the two weeks it takes a lot of energy and effort to invest into winning a Grand Slam.”

Djokovic will next play Colombian lucky loser Daniel Elahi Galan, who ousted two-time major quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren from the United States 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 48 minutes.

Carballes Baena upsets Shapovalov

Over on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena has reached the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time by beating ninth-seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 in a match that lasted five hours.

“It is a dream for me to win a match like this,” Carballes Baena told Cedric Pioline in his on-court interview. “I tried to be very solid and focused on my game. Shapovalov served very well, but I played a very good match. It was the first time I beat a Top 10 player, reached the third round of a Grand Slam, and the first time I won a fifth set.”

World No. 101 Carballes Baena will next play 18th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.

“Honestly I feel like the conditions were as tough as possible for me to play against here, with the balls being just so heavy and it being really cold,” Shapovalov said. “I mean, I play an aggressive game, I like to step in, and I mean he just had so much time. So it was very difficult. I think I did everything, everything right, just didn’t go my way today.”

On Court 13, Daniel Altmaier emerged victorious from the all-German affair with Jan-Lennard Struff, winning 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3. Altmaier arrived in Paris without ever playing qualifying at a Grand Slam, but he has won 12 of his 13 sets in qualifying and the main draw. The 22-year-old also beat Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez. Altmaier, who advanced to the semi-finals at the ATP Challenger events in Cordenons and Aix-en-Provence last month, will next oppose No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini, one of five Italians in the third round.

Rublev, Tsitsipas advance

Last week’s Hamburg European Open finalists, Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas continue their good run of form in Paris. Reigning Rothenbaum champion Rublev fought past young Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in three hours and 35 minutes.

Hamburg runner-up Tsitsipas defeated one of his idols, Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 28 minutes to reach the third round in Paris for the second consecutive year. The 22-year-old Greek will next play Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, who beat Nikola Milojevic from Serbia 7-5, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) in two hours and 54 minutes. Bedene defeated Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-4 in their only previous clash earlier this year in Rotterdam.

Ostapenko soars into third round

On the women’s side, 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia played some of her best tennis since capturing her maiden major title on the terre battue, knocking out No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova from the Czeche Republic, winning 6-4, 6-2.

“I think I was playing good today,” Ostapenko said. “I knew it was going to be a tough match, so I was trying to be very focused all match, playing my game. I tried to keep the ball in play to make sure I’m not missing and making too many unforced errors, but when I had the chance I was going for it.

“Obviously I knew she’s a great player so it’s going to be a tough match, but I think I played well today.”

Ostapenko will next face young Spaniard Paula Badosa, who upset No. 29 seeded US-American Sloane Stephens 6-4, 4-6, 6-2,

Reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin from the United States rallied from a set down to defeat Romania’s Ana Bogdan, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 51 minutes.

“During the match I just try to put the emotions aside,” Kenin said in post-match press. “I don’t have time to think about my emotions. I have to play one point at a time.

“These two matches have been quite tough. I felt like I couldn’t find my rhythm in both of them and found a way at the end, so I’ll take it.” Up next for Kenin will be Irina Bara of Romania.

Home hope Fiona Ferro took down No.14 seed Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan in a three-set upset to reach the third round at Roland Garros for the first time, winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

“In the second set I think I got a bit negative, I didn’t like my spirit, and the beginning of the third set it was a little bit the same,” Ferro said. “But then I found a new breath, and it was much better. I think the crowd helped me find that breath, and also my family. I’m happy to be through. 

“I just tried to use their energy, and l was looking at my family and my coach a lot to give me energy.”