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Nadal notches up Grand Slam match win No.300 as Alcaraz continues to impress

(Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
26th May, 2022
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Rafael Nadal continues to make history, notching up his 300th match win at Grand Slam level as he continues his bid to win the Australian and French Opens in the same calendar year for the first time.

The Spaniard dashed local hopes by defeating Corentin Moutet in straight sets, also notching up his tenth win from as many matches against home opposition at the Grand Slam he has owned since his debut here 17 years ago.

It goes to prove that, even though he may be approaching his 36th birthday as well as returning from injury, the undisputed King of Clay is never to be underestimated at the French Open, and that he remains a serious contender as the tournament reaches its business end.

His next opponent will be Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp, who defeated Croatian qualifier Borna Gojo in four sets.

As Nadal’s distinguished career continues to wind down, another Spaniard – Carlos Alcaraz – continues to impress as he looks to become the first male teenage winner of a Major since the King of Clay in 2005.

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The 19-year-old saved a match point in the tenth game of the fourth set to oust fellow countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas and match his best performance at Roland Garros, reaching the third round for the second consecutive year.

It was his third straight win against his elder compatriot, which also included his first ever win at ATP Tour level in Rio de Janeiro just over two years ago.

He next faces fellow young gun Sebastian Korda, the son of former Australian Open winner Petr Korda, who ousted French veteran Richard Gasquet in straight sets, and remains on track to face German third seed Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals.

Zverev had to dig even deeper in his second round match, coming from two sets to love down to outlast Argentinian qualifier Sebastian Baez with the final set lasting 7-5.

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15th seed Diego Schwartzman did likewise against Jaume Minar to set up a third round clash against former world number three Grigor Dimitrov, who was barely troubled in his straight-sets dismissal of former junior Major champion Borna Coric.

Whoever wins their clash, which is scheduled for Friday night/Saturday morning (AEST), is likely to face top seed Novak Djokovic, who had to endure a third set tiebreak before defeating Alex Molcan in straight sets. Next for the Serb is Slovenian Aljaz Bedene.

The upsets continued in the women’s draw with Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari bowing out at the hands of former Australian Open semi-finalist Karolina Muchova in a lengthy straight-sets clash that lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours.

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Muchova, who has been plagued by injury in recent months, required eight set points to win the first set in 69 minutes, and despite being broken in the eighth game of the second set held her nerve to notch the sixth top ten win of her career.

She next goes on to face 27th seed Amanda Anisimova, who ousted Croatian qualifier Donna Vekic in straight sets. Sakkari, a semi-finalist last year, is the fifth top ten seed to depart the French Open within the opening four days of the tournament.

Former Major champions Emma Raducanu, Petra Kvitova and Bianca Andreescu also bowed out, the former won the first set in her match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich but won only two games thereafter to crash to a second straight second-round exit at a Major.

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Kvitova’s run came to an end at the hands of rejuvenated Aussie Daria Saville, who continues to impress in her return from an abdominal injury which saw her ranking drop to as low as 624 in January.

Saville is the last Australian remaining in either the singles draws, after Jason Kubler and Ajla Tomljanovic lost their respective second round matches earlier in the day.

She next goes on to face Martina Trevisan with the possibility of a fourth round showdown with Angelique Kerber looming in the last sixteen.

Andreescu’s run came to an end at the hands of reigning Olympic Gold Medallist Belinda Bencic, who won in straight sets to set up a clash against 17th seed Leylah Fernandez.

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Two former Major champions, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens, closed in on a possible fourth round encounter after both won against Andrea Petkovic and Sorana Cirstea, respectively.

Diana Parry, the first-round victor of reigning champion Barbora Krejcikova, backed up the biggest win of her career by defeating Camila Osorio in straight sets, losing just three games in each set.

Day 5 sees the men’s bottom half and women’s top half in action, with play on Court Philippe Chartier headlined by Daniil Medvedev and Madison Keys.

Those with a pass to Court Suzanne Lenglen will be treated to matches involving Paula Badosa, Iga Swiatek and Stefanos Tsitsipas, while on Court Simonne Mathieu, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Andrey Rublev will be in action.

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