Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev post straight-set wins at French Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 30 May, 2024 at 11:50 PM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Top seed Novak Djokovic and fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev captured straight-set wins on Thursday to move to the third round at the French Open in Paris.

The defending champion, Djokovic shook off an early challenge from Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory. The Serbian used five aces and seven service breaks to win in just over two hours.

"I'm glad that I came through the opening (two) rounds in straight sets," Djokovic said. "Again at the beginning, in the first set, I was challenged. He was playing very well, aggressive from the start. It took me a little bit of time to start swinging through the ball a bit more loose. Crucial break to clinch the first set. After that, the second and third set really went my way."

Djokovic, who is seeking his 25th Grand Slam title, enters the third round at Roland Garros with some confidence after failing to win a tournament so far in 2024. He didn't get past the semifinals in any of the three clay-court tournaments he played leading up to the French Open.

"I was dictating play and doing things the right way," Djokovic said after his match. "I have to be content, of course it can always be better, matches are only going to get tougher. It's enjoyable to feel and play this way at a Grand Slam."

Germany's Zverev, coming off an emotional opening-round win over French Open legend Rafael Nadal, bested David Goffin 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-2 in two hours, 22 minutes. He racked up 37 winners compared to 23 for Goffin and broke the Belgian's serve four times.

He was relieved that he didn't suffer a letdown.

"Since the draw came out, the only thing the tennis world was talking about was that match (against Nadal)," Zverev said. "He won the tournament 14 times, so he deserves all the credit and respect and all the acknowledgments he gets. So after I beat him I felt that I had already won the tournament, but in the end it is only a first round.

"You have to focus for another two weeks entirely and I am happy I had another two days off as I had to compose myself emotionally. I had to ground myself and get back to work and playing good tennis. I am extremely happy with the level today."

In other action, fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia advanced after Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic retired, trailing 6-1, 5-0. Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, the 10th seed, moved on with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Fabian Marozsan of Hungary.

No. 7 seed Casper Ruud of Norway needed to go the distance to beat Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. No. 13 Holger Rune of Denmark endured a wild ride against Italy's Flavio Cobolli and dug out of a 5-0 hole in the fifth-set tiebreaker to win 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7).

Five seeded players fell later on Thursday, including three in five-set affairs.

Slovakian lucky loser Jozef Kovalik rallied to stun No. 18 Karen Khachanov of Russia 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. Austrian Sebastian Ofner toppled No. 20 Sebastian Baez of Argentina 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (5), and Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic beat No. 31 Mariano Navone of Argentina 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 1-6, 6-1.

Also, Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff beat No. 19 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in straight sets, and No. 25 seed Frances Tiafoe fell to Canada's Denis Shapovalov in four sets.

Americans Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul, the 12th and 14th seeds, advanced to the Round of 32. Other winners Thursday included No. 11 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia, No. 21 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina, No. 26 Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands, No. 30 Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, Belgium's Zizou Bergs, Australian Thanasis Kokkinakis and Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

--Field Level Media