PARIS, France – Rafael Nadal continued the strong start to his bid for a record-extending 12th French Open title on Wednesday, May 29, with a comfortable victory over German qualifier Yannick Maden, while Stefanos Tsitsipas had to dig deep to reach round 3.
The 32-year-old Nadal was in near total control against world No. 114 Maden bar some nervy moments in the 3rd set, winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion will play Belgian 27th seed David Goffin in the last 32.
“He (Maden) is a good player. He had already won 4 matches so was full of confidence,” said Nadal, whose Roland Garros win-loss record now reads an incredible 88-2.
“For me it was an important victory.”
The Spaniard wasted little time in wrapping up the first two sets on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Maden may have briefly allowed himself to dream of an outrageous upset when he twice broke to level at 3-3 and then 4-4 in the 3rd set, but Nadal put him back in his place with two quick games to seal victory.
Nadal appears to be hitting form at just the right time, after following 3 consecutive semifinal defeats on clay with the Italian Open title before arriving in Paris.
He finished the match with 43 winners against just 23 unforced errors.
Greek star Tsitsipas did not have things all his own way against Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien on Court Simonne Mathieu, but managed to grind out a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 victory.
The 6th seed, who beat Roger Federer en route to the Australian Open semifinals earlier this year, will take on either Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena or Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic in his maiden appearance in the third round.
The 20-year-old started strongly with an early break, but appeared unsettled following a medical timeout for Dellien after the world No. 86 appeared to twist his ankle.
Dellien quickly sealed the opening set, but Tsitsipas raced through the next two sets and seemingly towards victory.
Despite letting a 4-2 lead in the 4th set slip, the 25-year-old Dellien just would not go away, saving 3 match points from 0-40 down in the 10th game to level at 5-5.
But Tsitsipas did secure the win in his opponent’s next service game, curling a forehand up the line on his fourth match point.
Svitolina to face Muguruza
Ukrainian Elina Svitolina will face 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza in the women’s third round after the 9th seed’s compatriot Kateryna Kozlova pulled out of the tournament before their match with a viral infection.
Spain’s Muguruza, seeded 19th this year, eased to a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Swede Johanna Larsson to advance.
Svitolina, a two-time French Open quarterfinalist, had beaten seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in her opening tie.
Last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens also eased through with a 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) win over Sara Sorribes Tormo on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The former US Open champion, who lost to Simona Halep in the 2018 French Open final, will play Slovenia’s Polona Hercog next after she edged out American Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-7 (8/10), 6-4.
Seventh seed Stephens has now reached at least the third round at Roland Garros on each of her last 7 visits to the French capital. – Rappler.com