World number one Carlos Alcaraz overcame a second set blip to defeat Japan’s Taro Daniel and reach the French Open last 32 on Wednesday. The Spanish star came through 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 against his 112th-ranked opponent and will face Canada’s Denis Shapovalov for a place in the fourth round. Alcaraz, 20, is bidding to add the Roland Garros title to the US Open he won in 2022.
“I’m very happy with my level. The wind meant conditions were really difficult so I had to adjust as much as possible, I was very focused on each shot,” said Alcaraz.
Victory on Wednesday gave Alcaraz a 22nd win from 24 on clay in 2023, a run which has yielded titles on the surface in Buenos Aires, Madrid and Barcelona.
“Taro was playing great. He is a really tough player and this year he has won matches against great players,” said Alcaraz who is top seed at a Grand Slam for the first time. On Wednesday, he fired 46 winners past New York-born Daniel.
Shapovalov, the 26th seed, saw off Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi in four sets to reach the third round in Paris for the first time.
Kokkinakis ends 38-year-old Wawrinka’s French Open
Thanasi Kokkinakis knocked 38-year-old Stan Wawrinka out of the French Open on Wednesday in a five-set rollercoaster to book a third round place at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015. Australian world number 108 Kokkinakis came through 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 in four hours and 38 minutes against the 2015 champion.
“I feel better now that I’ve won,” said the 27-year-old after securing victory on a fifth match point.
“What a match. I know Stan is getting older but in the first set he was playing the best. I was nowhere, just hanging in.”
Kokkinakis, who described Wawrinka, a three-time major winner, as a “legend” of the sport, last made the third round of a Slam in Paris eight years ago when he was just 19.
However, he has been plagued by physical and medical problems with a shoulder injury limiting him to just one singles match from November 2015 until May 2017. He then missed the entire 2020 season due to mono before undergoing surgery on his sinuses in 2022.
“I’ve had a pretty crazy story. I came on the scene when I was pretty young, looked like I was set for a big future but I went missing for a few years,” he said.
Kokkinakis will take on either Russian 11th seed Karen Khachanov or Moldova’s Radu Albot for a place in the last 16.
World number two Aryna Sabalenka cruised into the French Open third round on Wednesday with a straight-sets win over fellow Belarusian Iryna Shymanovich.
The Australian Open champion took some time to get the measure of her opponent, who had never won a main-draw WTA match before this tournament, before wrapping up a 7-5, 6-2 victory.
Sabalenka will face either Poland’s Magdalena Frech or Russian Kamilla Rakhimova in the last 32.
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