FRENCH OPEN: Zverev, Potro, Azarenka, Osaka win

PARIS, MAY 28 (AFP) | Publish Date: 5/28/2019 11:37:22 AM IST

Alexander Zverev survived a bruising four-hour battle to reach the French Open second round on Tuesday while dangerman Juan Martin del Potro also progressed.

While in Women’s singles, Two-time Grand Slam winner and former world number one Victoria Azarenka defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) and world no. 1, Naomi Osaka eked out a  0-6, 7-6, 6-1 victory over Karolina Schmiedlova.  
German fifth seed Zverev, a quarter-finalist in Paris in 2018, battled past Australia’s John Millman 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 2-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.
The champion in Geneva last weekend fired 57 winners past world number 56 Millman who stunned Roger Federer at the US Open last year.
However, he also committed 73 unforced errors on a blustery day in the French capital.
Next up for Zverev is Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer, the world number 148 of Ethiopian origin, who marked his Grand Slam debut with a 6-0, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) win over Slovenia’s Blaz Rola.
Argentine eighth seed Del Potro, a semi-finalist in 2009 and 2018, made the second round with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over Chilean world number 58 Nicolas Jarry.
Next up for the giant Argentine is a clash against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.
Jarry lived and died by the sword on Court Suzanne Lenglen, his 47 winners almost cancelled out by his 41 unforced errors.
Azarenka, ranked 43 in the world, beat 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko in a match which featured 13 breaks of serve. Ostapenko has now lost in the first round in her last two visits to Paris with her wretched performance highlighted by an ugly 60 unforced errors.
Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, the surprise champion at Indian Wells, marked her Roland Garros debut by beating Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
The 18-year-old, playing for the first time since Miami after suffering a shoulder injury, hit 58 winners and 60 unforced errors in the tie suspended due to darkness on Monday night. There were also 17 breaks of serve in the match which stretched to over three hours.
Meanwhile, according to The Telegraph, Naomi Osaka, winner of the last two grand slams, survived an almighty scare before advancing to the second round. 
Osaka’s opponent, Slovakia’s world No 90 Karolina Schmiedlova, won the first set 6-0 and twice served for the match in the second but was broken on both occasions. During the second attempt, Schmiedlova was two points from victory but Osaka, who appeared to be crying into her towel at the previous change of ends, dug in and ultimately eked out a  0-6, 7-6, 6-1 victory after 1hr, 54min. 
The second set tie-break proved to be a major turning point, with a deflated Schmiedlova winning only won game thereafter, as a liberated Osaka began to find her range. 
Osaka’s reward for the victory is another awkward looking encounter - this time against two-time grand-slam champion Victoria Azarenka, who earlier on Tuesday defeated Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets. 
Should Osaka end up winning the tournament, she will be the first player other than Serena Williams to win three consecutive majors since Martina Hingis 21 years ago.  

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