French Open day six: Norrie out as Djokovic, Alcaraz and Sabalenka march on

By Sports Desk June 02, 2023

British interest in singles at the French Open ended after Cameron Norrie lost meekly to Lorenzo Musetti in the third round, castigating his attitude and performance in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 defeat.

Novak Djokovic survived the longest three-set match of his grand slam career, battling past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in three hours and 36 minutes, while Carlos Alcaraz had a much easier time against Denis Shapovalov.

In the women’s event, Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka reached round four for the first time but third seed Jessica Pegula is out.

Picture of the dayTweet of the day

Naomi Osaka and boyfriend Cordae are expecting a girl.

Shot of the dayStat of the day

A disastrous first week for the home country, who began with 28 players in the main singles draws.

Fritz earns Mac approval

Not surprisingly, Taylor Fritz’s baiting of the French crowd in his late-night win over Arthur Rinderknech was right up John McEnroe’s street. “I like to see a little confrontation,” said Eurosport pundit McEnroe. The booing was so loud that the on-court interview was limited to one question.

China return

The WTA announced earlier this year that it would be ending its boycott of China over the Peng Shuai affair. Details of the autumn calendar have now been announced, with seven tournaments taking place in the country, including the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

Fallen seeds

Men: Andrey Rublev (7), Hubert Hurkacz (13), Cameron Norrie (14), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (29).
Women: Jessica Pegula (3), Anastasia Potapova (24), Irina-Camelia Begu (27).

Who’s up next?

The boot will be on the other foot for 19-year-old Coco Gauff when she takes on Russian Mirra Andreeva, three years her junior, in the third round on Saturday. Defending champion Iga Swiatek meets Wang Xinyu of China while fourth seed Elena Rybakina plays Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo. The night session again features a men’s match – Alexander Zverev up against Frances Tiafoe – while Casper Ruud and Holger Rune are also in action.

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    Nicolas Jarry defeated Tommy Paul in three sets on Friday to set up a showdown with Alexander Zverev in the Italian Open final.

    The men's world number 24 prevailed 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 in a little under three hours in Rome to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final.

    Jarry earned the only break of serve in the eighth game of the opening set, but Paul - who dropped just one set in four matches en route to this stage - hit back in the second.

    Birthday boy Paul lost serve to trail 4-2 at one stage, but he produced one of the shots of the tournament at the ideal moment and soon dragged it back to 4-4.

    A gruelling set concluded with Paul taking the tie-break 7-3, but Jarry was unperturbed and won the deciding set with his fifth match point to see off Paul in a gruelling contest.

    Data Debrief: 

    Jarry is the third male Chilean in the Open Era to reach the singles final of the Italian Open after Marcelo Rios (1997-98) and Fernando Gonzalez (2007).

    The 28-year-old registered 13 aces against Paul to his opponent's seven and hit 35 winners to 19 in a deserved victory.

  • Zverev ends Tabilo's dream run to reach Italian Open final Zverev ends Tabilo's dream run to reach Italian Open final

    Alexander Zverev fought back from the brink to reach the Italian Open final on Friday, overcoming Alejandro Tabilo by a 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 scoreline in the last four.

    Zverev was punished for a slow start as Tabilo took the opener within 32 minutes, but the German fought back in a one-hour, 15-minute slog of a second set.

    The 2017 Italian Open champion put his foot down from 3-3 in the second-set tie-break, with Tabilo potentially feeling the effects of a fine run that included a last-32 upset of Novak Djokovic.

    Zverev upped the intensity in the final set and won a huge 94 per cent of points behind his first serve as his opponent wilted, the third seed reaching the Rome final for a third time. 

    Data Debrief: Zverev draws level with Becker

    Zverev will now face either Nicolas Jarry or Tommy Paul in Sunday's final, which will be his 11th at ATP 1000 Masters level.

    That tally pulls him level with Boris Becker for most such finals by a German player since the format's 1990 introduction.

  • Sabalenka defeats Collins to set up Swiatek rematch Sabalenka defeats Collins to set up Swiatek rematch

    Aryna Sabalenka defeated Danielle Collins 7-5 6-2 to set up yet another meeting with Iga Swiatek at the Italian Open.

    Having defeated Collins en route to the final of the Madrid Open, which she lost to Swiatek, Sabalenka repeated the trick with a straight sets win over the American in Thursday's semi-final.

    And the Belarusian's reward will be an immediate rematch with Swiatek.

    The duo have met 10 times, including in Madrid earlier this month, with Swiatek winning seven times and Sabalenka claiming three victories.

    This will be Sabalenka's first appearance in the Italian Open final.

    She is the sixth player, along with Simona Halep (2017), Dinara Safina (2009), Serena Williams (2013), Ons Jabeur (2022), and Swiatek (2024) to have reached the final of both Madrid and Rome in the same season.

    Data Debrief: Perfect record

    Collins is the only player against whom Sabalenka has registered six wins without a loss in WTA events, while only against Maria Sakkari and Elise Mertens does she have more wins in her career in such events (seven each).

    The final will mark the fourth meeting on clay between Swiatek and Sabalenka as world number one and two, equalling Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the most meetings on the surface as the WTA's top-two ranked players.

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