Alcaraz survives an epic against Ramos-Vinolas


Agence France-Presse Paris

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz saved a match point and came back from 3-0 down in the final set to defeat Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas and make the third round at Roland-Garros on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old sixth seed, widely tipped to break the Grand Slam stranglehold of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, triumphed 6-1, 6-7(7), 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4 in a four-hour 34-minute epic.

Alcaraz, bidding to become only the eighth teenager to win a Grand Slam men's title, hit a matching 74 winners and 74 unforced errors on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

The 34-year-old Ramos-Vinolas, ranked 44 and who made the quarterfinals in 2017, saved 23 of 31 break points before the flamboyant Alcaraz called on his deepest reserves and spectacular shot-making ability to win.

Former Grand Slam champions Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka also advanced to the third round.

Kerber, who won her first clay title in six years on the eve of the French Open, defeated French wildcard and 2020 junior champion Elsa Jacquemot 6-1, 7-6(2) as she seeks the only Grand Slam missing from her collection.

The German 21st seed next plays Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the Belarusian who knocked out US Open champion Emma Raducanu 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

"I think the last week was really important for me to get the title," former No. 1 Kerber said of her Strasbourg triumph.

"I had a lot of confidence. It's great to be back here and I hope I can still play a few more matches.

"When you achieve everything you want, you play for the love of the game. I just love the sport. Let's see how long I can keep playing at a high level."

Azarenka beat Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 7-6(3). She meets Swiss 23rd seed Jil Teichmann for a place in the fourth round.

Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari crashed out, going down 7-6(5), 7-6(4) to Czech World No. 81 Karolina Muchova.

Sakkari, a 2021 Roland Garros semifinalist, is the fifth women's top-10 seed to lose in the first four days at Roland Garros.

"It's very special, she's an amazing player. It was a big fight, a little bit of a test and challenge for me and I'm happy I took it the way I did," said Muchova.

Top seed Djokovic saw off Slovakia's Alex Molcan, who is coached by Marian Vajda, the man who inspired most of his 20 Slam titles, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4).

Djokovic fired 10 aces and 40 winners past his 38th-ranked opponent and will next face Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene for a place in the last 16.

Alexander Zverev saved a match point against Argentina's Sebastian Baez as he battled back from two sets down to advance. Zverev overcame Baez 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5 after three hours and 36 minutes.


Fallen seeds

Men: 13-Fritz

Women: 4-Sakkari, 12-Raducanu, 26-Cirstea

Second round

Men: 1-Djokovic (Srb) bt Molcan (Svk) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4); Bedene (Slo) bt Cuevas (Uru) 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4; 9-Auger-Aliassime (Can) bt Carabelli (Arg) 6-0, 6-3, 6-4; 23-Isner (USA) bt Barrere (Fra) 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5); Miralles (Esp) bt 13-Fritz (USA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3; 10-Norrie (GBR) bt Kubler (Aus) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3; 21-Khachanov bt Dellien (Bol) 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-3; 3-Zverev (Ger) bt Baez (Arg) 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5; 15-Schwartzman (Arg) bt Munar (Esp) 2-6, 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-2, 6-2; 26-Zandschulp (Ned) bt Fognini (Ita) 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-2, retd.; 18-Dimitrov (Bul) bt Coric (Cro) 6-0, 6-4, 6-3; 6-Alcaraz (Esp) bt Ramos-Vinolas (Esp) 6-1, 6-7(7), 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4.

Women: 21-Kerber (Ger) bt Jacquemot (Fra) 6-1, 7-6(2); Sasnovich bt 12-Raducanu (GBR) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1; 27-Anisimova (USA) bt Vekic (Cro) 6-4, 6-1; Muchova (Cze) bt 4-Sakkari (Gre) 7-6(5), 7-6(4); 31-Mertens (Bel) w.o. Bouzkova (withdrew after testing COVID-19 positive); 18-Gauff (USA) bt Van Uytvanck (Bel) 6-1, 7-6(4); Azarenka bt Petkovic (Ger) 6-1, 7-6(3); 17-Fernandez (Can) bt Siniakova (Cze) 6-3, 6-2; Stephens bt 26-Cirstea (Rou) 3-6, 6-2, 6-0; 14-Bencic (Sui) bt Andreescu (Can) 6-2, 6-4.

First round: Men’s doubles: Ramkumar (Ind) & Reese (USA) bt Otte & Altmaier (Ger) 7-6(4), 6-3.

Tuesday’s result: Men: 4-Tsitsipas (Gre) bt Musetti (Ita) 5-7, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

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