Second seed Daniil Medvedev recovered from a set down to defeat Tommy Paul and book his place in the third round of the French Open, while Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev advanced with straight-set wins at Roland Garros.
Two-time Grand Slam finalist Medvedev had suffered four successive opening-round defeats on the Parisian clay ahead of this year’s showpiece, but after breaking his duck against Alexander Bublik, the Russian recorded a 3-6 6-1 6-4 6-3 victory over world No 52 Paul to seal his spot in the last 32.
The world No 2 has made no secret of his tumultuous relationship with clay courts, although following a tentative start on Court Philippe Chatrier, he seized control to register a comfortable four-set victory.
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The highlight of Paul’s performance came in the very first game; he produced an improbable around-the-net-post winner en route to clinching the opening set, after he was gifted a break to love by Medvedev midway through.
Nevertheless, Medvedev responded by rattling through the second set in just 24 minutes and Paul was unable to re-establish control.
The 25-year-old registered eight breaks throughout the contest, and won an impressive 80 per cent of points on his first serve, to set up a tussle against the imposing presence of Reilly Opelka.
Zverev, Tsitsipas prevail in straight sets
Zverev was embroiled in pre-match controversy for a second straight match at Roland Garros, although the sixth seed still advanced to round three following a battling three-set victory over qualifier Roman Safiullin.
The 24-year-old was involved in a heated exchange with the umpire after being deemed late for the coin toss ahead of his opener against Oscar Otte, and he reacted angrily after both he and Safiullin were hit with time violations for not being ready to commence their clash in time.
I don’t go into the match and say, ‘OK, my tactic is I’m going to be a break down, I’m going to fight back and come back.’ That’s not how it works. I’m a break down most of the time because I play unfocused games or the opponent plays well.
Alexander Zverev discusses his slow starts
Zverev struggled for large periods against his unheralded Russian opponent, registering 10 double faults, yet he produced when it mattered to set up a tussle against Serbia’s Laslo Djere, as he bids to go beyond the quarter-finals on the Parisian clay for the first time.
The German could take on Norwegian Casper Ruud in the last eight, after the 15th seed closed out a comprehensive 6-3 6-2 6-4 success against Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak.
Fifth seed Tsitsipas cruised through to round three with a convincing 6-3 6-4 6-3 win over Spain’s Pedro Martinez.
Last year’s semi-finalist struck 45 winners in an eye-catching display, and he’s yet to drop a set in this year’s tournament thus far.
Kei keeps his hopes alive in an epic
Trust me, I hate playing five sets. I’m not doing it on purpose!
Kei Nishikori on his five-set exploits
Three-time quarter-finalist Kei Nishikori prevailed in his second straight five-setter to account for 23rd seed Karen Khachanov in a thrilling affair on Wednesday afternoon.
The former world number four – currently ranked 49th – trailed 2-1 in sets, before recovering to wrap up a 4-6 6-2 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory in three hours and 58 minutes.
Nishikori’s reward is a third-round meeting against Swiss teenager Henri Laaksonen, who inflicted a shock four-set defeat on 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Kei Nishikori survives in five AGAIN 🤯
He defeats Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 after four hours.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/ZBsQHAWCqY
The seeded duo of Fabio Fognini and John Isner progressed with straight-set victories, while Cristian Garin fought back from two sets down to defeat Mackenzie McDonald in an epic.
The 22nd seed saved two match points to triumph 4-6 4-6 7-6 6-3 8-6 in a marathon contest, to the delight of the Chilean fans watching outside the venue, after being forced to leave when the match went beyond the 9pm curfew.
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