Day 3 Diary: Warrior work from Rublev and Tsitsipas

 - Alex Sharp

A thrilling third day of action is done and dusted. Here’s what you might have missed around the grounds.

Andrey Rublev, Roland-Garros 2020, 1er tour©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

It’s only been the third day of action at Roland-Garros and already we have witnessed some standout shots, comebacks and shocks. 

Here is what caught our eyes in Paris…

Better when we're together

Fresh from their Hamburg final on Sunday night, Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas both battled back from the brink.

The Greek recovered from two sets down for the first time in his fledging career 4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 facing Spain’s Jaume Munar. 

For Russian Rublev, it was the same milestone, but the No.13 seed was far from happy following his gladiatorial 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 rollercoaster with Sam Querrey.

“There is long way to improve, even if we take the match today, that my attitude was horrible. I was just so lucky,” said Rublev, who has three titles in 2020.

“I was feeling completely tight. I choke another level. Since the first point of the match 'til the last match of the match I was completely [frozen]. I couldn't do one step, I could only hit, I was tight like I don't know. Not many times I was tight like this.”

The dangerous Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is up next for Rublev. Grab the popcorn…

Pick up the phone Mo

If you haven’t head of Mayar Sherif’s inspiring story, where have you been? Well, her Grand Slam main draw debut taking on second seed Karolina Pliskova was a cracker. 

The Egyptian’s historic run through qualifying has been turning heads with Liverpool forward Mo Salah retweeting a feature about Sherif last week. 

Well, the first Egyptian woman to feature in a major is waiting for the call Mo.

He hasn't reached out. I wish he would,” Sherif said with a smile. “That would be very, very nice.”

Novak calls out journalist poster preference

Following his free-flowing first round win, Novak Djokovic was quizzed about his habit of offering up very prolonged answers in press conferences.

“You know you're one of my favourites. So, tell me, what do you want?” The world No.1 asked a certain reporter.

To which the reply came: “Sometimes short when it's not necessary to give a long answer. And sometimes, you give us more options, you know. We can ask you more questions.”

Press conferences are online at Roland-Garros due to Covid-19 restrictions and Djokovic was taken aback by the journalist’s choice of player posters in his office. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were on the wall.

“As I told you, you are one of my favourites, but I see that I am not one of your favourites,” added ‘DjokerNole’. “In your background I can see two familiar faces that definitely is not me there.”

Lethal weapon

No.7 seed Matteo Berrettini’s cannonball forehand was on fire in a straight-sets dismissal of Vasek Pospisil and delivered the Infosys Stat of the Day.

Running in the family

The 2019 Australian Open junior champion Clara Tauson is already making waves in her maiden major. 

The 17-year-old saved two match points to defeat US Open semi-finalist Jennifer Brady. 

Tennis talent runs in the Tauson family. Her uncle Michael won two Challenger level titles in Great Britain in Telford and Croydon. Clara might be after slightly more prestigious trophies.

Shoe are you?

Mikael Ymer put up a spirited effort facing world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the top seed sauntering through in straight sets. There was clearly a level of respect between the duo, with Ymer wearing Djokovic branded trainers on court.

Who said parents were embarrassing?

During his sensational fight back Tsitsipas’ dad, and coach, Apostolos took his support to the next level with a customised face mask with his son’s face on.

Rybakina rocketing into contention

There is always plenty of talk of contenders but for some reason 14th seed Elena Rybakina flies under the radar.

The Strasbourg finalist has already competed in five silverware showdowns in 2020 and breezed past Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-3 on Tuesday.

Ostapenko on a mission

Remarkably 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko clinched her first match win at Roland-Garros since lifting the title.

“Sometimes I feel like I play well, and then some matches I don't play well,” said the Latvian after a morale-boosting 6-2, 6-1 win over Madison Brengle. “But if I get my consistency back like in 2017 and beginning of 2018 also, I think I'll be back in like top 10.”

Shapovalov the centurion

Canadian hot shot Denis Shapovalov is now a top-10 player and he exemplified his ranking to nullify the trickery of Gilles Simon in four sets for his 100th tour-level victory.

Garin to change the bio

Roland-Garros 2013 junior champion Cristian Garin is now a figure many feel will flourish in Paris for many years to come.

The Chilean, fresh from his Hamburg semi-final last week, has won all four titles on the red dirt. However the ATP website lists his favourite surface as hard court. 

“Yeah I think I have to change that in ATP!”

Kenin aware of being marked

Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin, who was forced to overhaul a break deficit in the decider on court against Liudmila Samsonova, is learning to play with a target on her back.

"I feel like when I'm high seeded I feel like people are watching me, just a bit more pressure from the outside,” said the fourth seed. "But that's obviously good. Means they know I'm fierce, tough, not an easy opponent.”