Djokovic, Tsitsipas stroll into French Open 3rd round; Pliskova sent packing

Paris, Oct 1 (efe-epa).- Serbian world No. 1 and top seed Novak Djokovic barely broke a sweat for the second straight match at the French Open, brushing aside Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday in just an hour and 23 minutes.

Greek No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas also rolled to a comfortable 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, but the No. 2 seed in the women’s singles draw, Czech Karolina Pliskova, lost to 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-2.

Djokovic wasted no time in seizing complete control of his second-round match on Court Philippe-Chatrier, racing out to a 6-1, 2-0 lead before Berankis started holding his serve.

Like in his first-round win against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, the Serbian made devastating use of the drop shot, was rock solid from the baseline and was dominant in his service games.

Djokovic faced just two break points in the match and saved both of them.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion was superior in every phase of the game but was particularly effective on first-serve points, winning 95 percent of those points on his serve and half of the points when Berankis put his first delivery in play.

Berankis won a surprisingly high 46 percent of his second-serve points (the same rate as Djokovic) but that was not enough to make the match competitive.

With his 70th victory at Roland Garros, Djokovic is now tied with Swiss great Roger Federer for second place all time yet still 25 victories behind clay king Rafael Nadal.

“Grand Slams are obviously the biggest tournaments in our sport. Historically, they count the most. So of course winning that many matches (at) each Slam is a great achievement,” Djokovic was quoted as saying on the ATP Tour’s official website. “Of course it makes me proud, makes me happy.”

Djokovic will next take on 24-year-old Colombian lucky loser Daniel Elahi Galan, who defeated American Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

The second-highest seed left in Djokovic’s half of the draw, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas recorded an impressive victory Thursday over the 60th-ranked Uruguayan.

In a clash of players with stylish one-handed backhands, the fifth-seeded Tsitsipas won more than his share of the rallies and also used his superior to height to assert greater control of his service games.

Although Cuevas briefly showed signs of making the match competitive when he evened the second set at 3-3 with his lone service break of the match, Tstisipas responded with a service break of his own in the following game to turn the contest decisively in his favor and book a third-round contest against Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene.

While the high-ranked men were enjoying an uneventful Thursday, Pliskova was bounced out of the tournament by an impressive Ostapenko.

The Latvian came out of nowhere to win the French Open three years ago just days after turning 20, stunning Simona Halep in the final with a barrage of winners that made up for a high unforced error count.

But she showed a more mature approach in defeating Pliskova on Thursday, striking 27 winners while committing just 18 unforced errors.

The 43rd-ranked Ostapenko has often beaten herself with double faults since capturing her first major title, but she committed just three in her second-round win and will try to continue that solid play in the next round against Spain’s Paula Badosa.

“I want to achieve more and I want to be back in top five, top 10. Step by step. That’s what I’m working on, my consistency,” the former world No. 5 was quoted as saying on the French Open’s official website. “Still being aggressive player, I think it can bring me a lot of wins but consistency probably in my game is the key.”

In other second-round results Thursday in men’s singles, seventh-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini defeated South Africa’s Lloyd Harris 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 but ninth-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov lost to Spain’s Roberto Caballes Baena 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6.

In other women’s singles second-round action, fourth-seeded American Sofia Kenin rallied to defeat Romania’s Ana Bogdan 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, seventh-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova topped Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-3 and 11th-seeded Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza cruised past Czech Kristyna Pliskova 6-3, 6-2. EFE-EPA

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