Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Medvedev overcomes clay court demons at Roland-Garros, Williams survives scare

Medvedev overcomes clay court demons at Roland-Garros, Williams survives scare

PARIS (Reuters) – World No 2 Daniil Medvedev overcame his past struggles on clay to reach the third round of Roland-Garros, and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams advanced after a second-set scare, as a debate over the complicated relationship between athletes and the media spilled over into another day of competition.

Players' media mandate was yet again under scrutiny as competitors voiced their support for Naomi Osaka but stopped short of publicly backing her press boycott. A reporter briefly lost his press credentials for stating he had logged on to a press conference with German Alexander Zverev from a supermarket.

Medvedev, who had a 0-4 record at Roland-Garros before this latest attempt, kept his bid alive with relative ease to set up a fourth-round clash with American Reilly Opelka, as Williams, who is gunning for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, fired off five aces to down Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Japan's Kei Nishikori managed to scrape through with a brutal, four-hour, five-set win over Russia's Karen Khachanov, while Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas made light work of Spain's Pedro Martinez in a straight-sets victory.

On the women's side, two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka, 31, showed off her vast experience to take down Danish teenager Clara Tauson in straight sets, while third-seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated her fellow Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich despite a bevy of unforced errors.


World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev overcame a slow start to win 3-6 6-1 6-4 6-3 over unseeded American Tommy Paul and advance to the third round, his best showing at Roland-Garros after being knocked out in the first round of the tournament in the four previous years.

Seventh seed Serena Williams was pushed the distance but beat Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 5-7 6-1 to move into the third round where the 39-year-old goes up against fellow American Danielle Collins.

Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Spain's Pedro Martinez 6-3 6-4 6-3 to move into the third round.

Tsitsipas fired eight aces and 45 winners, converting eight of 18 break points.

Japan's Kei Nishikori battled for four hours on Court Philippe-Chatrier before finally overcoming Russian 23rd seed Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-2 2-6 6-4 6-4. The Japanese will face Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen in round three.

"Trust me, I hate playing five sets. I don't do it on purpose," Nishikori said after a second straight five-setter which took his time on court at Roland Garros to just over eight hours.