Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Tennis-Tsitsipas, Alcaraz soar at French Open, Djokovic row simmers

By Shrivathsa Sridhar

PARIS (Reuters) -Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz cruised into the French Open third round on Wednesday, but all eyes were on Novak Djokovic as a political row sparked by the twice Roland Garros champion intensified.

Djokovic remained the hot topic as the fallout from his statement this week that “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” continued before his 7-6(2) 6-0 6-3 second-round victory over Marton Fucsovics.

Unlike after his opening match on Monday, however, there was no message on the camera lens the Serbian signed.

Tsitsipas, chasing his first Grand Slam title, made a sluggish start to his campaign against Jiri Vesely but the fifth seed looked back to his best against Roberto Carballes Baena, as he overcame a wobble to beat the Spaniard 6-3 7-6(4) 6-2.

Top seed Alcaraz resumed his quest for a second Grand Slam title with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-2 win over Japan’s Taro Daniel on a windy afternoon to book a third-round date with Canadian 26th seed Denis Shapovalov.

Djokovic, however, remained the talk of Roland Garros. Kosovo Olympic authorities asked the International Olympic Committee to open disciplinary proceedings against him.

“Djokovic has yet again promoted the Serbian nationalists’ propaganda and used the sport platform to do so,” said Ismet Krasniqi, the president of Kosovo’s Olympic Committee.

“The further post-match statements made by such a public figure without any feeling of remorse directly result in raising the level of tension and violence between the two countries.”

France’s Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said the message sent by Djokovic was “not appropriate”, although the International Tennis Federation which governs the game globally said the world number three had not violated any rule.


Three-times quarter-finalist Elina Svitolina took a leaf out of her husband Gael Monfils’s playbook following his five-set win over Sebastian Baez to down Australian Storm Hunter 2-6 6-3 6-1.

The Ukrainian then waded into the debate around Djokovic and said the world number three should have the right to express his opinion.

“If you stand for something, you think that this is the way, you should say,” Svitolina said.

Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka later beat compatriot Iryna Shymanovich 7-5 6-2 but the world number two refused to comment on the war in Ukraine.

The 25-year-old had been urged by her first-round opponent Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine to take a personal stand.

“I’ve got no comments to you,” she told a reporter who asked her specifically to condemn it.

Former champion Jelena Ostapenko had not made the second week at Roland Garros since 2017 and her disappointing run continued as unseeded American Peyton Stearns prevailed 6-3 1-6 6-2 in their second-round clash.

The feisty Latvian’s exit along with 2021 champion Barbora Krejcikova’s defeat by Lesia Tsurenko means holder Iga Swiatek is the only remaining winner of the Suzanne Lenglen Cup in the women’s draw.

World number three Jessica Pegula, hoping to hoist her maiden Grand Slam trophy on the Parisian clay, advanced into the third round after her Italian opponent Camila Giorgi retired after losing the opening set 6-2.

Russian ninth seed Daria Kasatkina came up with an early contender for shot of the tournament with a tweener in her 6-3 6-4 defeat of former runner-up Marketa Vondrousova.

Anna Blinkova dashed French hopes with a stunning 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory over fifth seed Caroline Garcia, wrapping up victory on her ninth match point.

Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis came through a rollercoaster clash against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka with a 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 victory and seventh seed Andrey Rublev beat Corentin Moutet 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-3.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in ParisEditing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis)


Editorial Cartoons

View More »

Michael Ramirez
Mon, Sep 18, 2023