Salem Radio Network News Saturday, September 23, 2023


Tennis-Swiatek serves up double bagel as Gauff, Rune, Ruud advance

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) -Defending champion Iga Swiatek continued her imperious, merciless march towards a third French Open title in four years with a 6-0 6-0 humiliation of Wang Xinyu on Saturday to reach the fourth round.

The world number one swept her Chinese opponent aside in 51 minutes with a potential quarter-final clash against Coco Gauff, who she demolished in last year’s final, looming.

Gauff ended the run of fellow teenager Mirra Andreeva with a 6-7(5) 6-1 6-1 victory, recovering from a tough start against the 16-year-old Russian.

But Andreeva’s lack of experience against a player three years older than her eventually showed as she quickly lost her composure along with the second and third sets.

Should they get through the next round against unseeded opponents, Gauff and Swiatek will play a re-match of last year’s final in which the American, seeded sixth this year, fell victim to the huge pressure on her shoulders and the metronomic game of the Pole.

Swiatek was in dazzling form on Saturday, dishing out a double bagel to Wang – the fourth time she has won a set 6-0 in the first three rounds, making sure she would not get sunburned in a cameo appearance.

“I am happy. It was a very strong performance from me and I was happy I was disciplined and took care of everything,” said Swiatek, who has lost only eight games since the start of the tournament.

She previously said she did not fancy playing in the French Open’s night sessions and with only one match scheduled every day at 2030 local time, there is little chance organisers will risk programming a player who spends so little time on court – almost three hours less than Alexander Zverev and Frances Tiafoe under the lights later on Saturday .

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur overcame a first-set scare against Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic to prevail 4-6 6-4 6-2 as experience prevailed on court Suzanne Lenglen.


The seventh seed was far from her best, but she did enough to advance as she was cheered by dozens of flag-waving Tunisian fans.

“I won it thanks to my mental strength. I accepted that I was not at 100% and that I needed to find solutions with what I had today,” she said.

Earlier, the tournament lost one of its main contenders for the women’s title as fourth seed Elena Rybakina pulled out ahead of her third-round meeting with Sara Sorribes Tormo due to illness.

“I’m really upset not be able to play, but I guess that’s life,” Wimbledon champion Rybakina said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs. Today I wanted to give 100% and obviously I’m far from being 100%.”

In the men’s draw, Holger Rune took a step closer to becoming Denmark’s first male Grand Slam singles champion when he powered past Argentine qualifier Genaro Alberto Olivieri 6-4 6-1 6-3.

In the distance is a possible repeat of last year’s quarter-finals as Norway’s Casper Ruud overcame a slow start to down Zhang Zhizhen of China 4-6 6-4 6-1 6-4 and reach the fourth round.

Their half of the draw also features Alexander Zverev, who left Roland Garros screaming in agony last year after he suffered a freak ankle injury which forced him to retire from his semi-final against Rafael Nadal.

The German, seeded 22nd, made a shaky start against American 12th seed Frances Tiafoe but raised his level when it mattered to eventually wrap up a 3-6 7-6(3) 6-1 7-6(5) win.

Tiafoe’s exit ended U.S. presence in the men’s draw as Taylor Fritz, with the crowd against him again after he shushed them repeatedly following his win against local favourite Arthur Rinderknech in the previous round, was eliminated in four sets by Argentine Cerundolo.

The result meant that four South Americans will be in the last 16 at Roland Garros this year.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Paris, editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar)


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