Day 5 Diary: Burel and Ferro ignite French charge

 - Alex Sharp

A possible fresh coaching collaboration, teenage success and big paydays were on the agenda on Thursday.

Clara Burel, Roland Garros 2020, second round© Julien Crosnier/FFT

Former junior world No.1 Clara Burel is grasping her maiden main draw with both hands.

The home charge was gifted a wild card and is repaying the FFT’s faith. The 19-year-old is the youngest Frenchwoman to reach the last 32 here since Alize Cornet in 2008. 

Burel, having edged Kaja Juvan 7-6(6), 6-2, is also just the fourth Frenchwoman to book a third round spot at the first attempt.

The list goes Catherine Tanvier (1982), Nathalie Herreman (1983), Cecile Calmette (1985) and then Burel. Magnifique!

“It’s been a crazy week so far. It’s still difficult to describe my feelings, but I guess it’s only happiness right now,” said the elated teenager.

“Yeah, a big revenge because she beat me in the final of the Youth Olympics back in 2018. This defeat really hurt. I’m really happy to have taken my revenge today.”

Fiona Ferro wanted to join the party and clinched a “dream” triumph. The 23-year-old Frenchwoman embraced the occasion on Court Philippe-Chatrier to topple 14th seed and recent Strasbourg finalist Elena Rybakina 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

Fiona Ferro© Cedric Lecocq / FFT

Familiar face back in Paris

Former world No.9 Nicolas Almagro, a three-time Roland-Garros quarter-finalist, was spotted chatting to America’s Danielle Collins on Thursday.

The world No.57 managed to halt the remarkable run of teenager qualifier Clara Tauson 6-2, 6-3 with a punchy performance consisting of 26 winners.

Heading off court Almagro jogged to catch up with Collins and after a fist bump offered a congratulations and a “good job”.

Is this a coaching collaboration in the making? Or was Almagro just appreciating some world class tennis?


106 unforced errors proved to be very costly for in-form Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

The 21-year-old backed up a US Open quarter-final with a semi-final showing on the red dirt in Rome.

However, despite Shapovalov serving for the match twice, it was world No.101 Roberto Carballes Baena, a specialist with 81 of his 110 tour-level matches on the clay, clinching the vital points in five hours of pulsating play 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

It was a real breakout win for RCB, check out his on-court interview below!

Kenin still on course

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was forced to dig deep once again to prevail 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Ana Bogdan.

The American is the highest seed (No.4) left in the bottom half of the draw. In a unique twist, Kenin is buoyed by seeing her title rivals win matches whilst watching the action back at the hotel. 

“I like watching it and seeing matches, especially the top players, seeing them play and hopefully get the victory so there is not many upsets hopefully,” said the 21-year-old.

Kenin might not be supporting the top seeds later in the fortnight…

Sofia Kenin, Roland-Garros 2020, 2e tour©Cedric Lecocq / FFT

Team Tsitsipas face up to Stefanos

It was a lot easier for world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round, swatting aside veteran Pablo Cuevas in straight sets.

Safely through, the Greek revealed why his dad has been wearing a mask with Tsitsipas’ face on it. 

An online shopping spree of 30 were ordered by the 22-year-old. Watch Tsitsipas in press below to get the full story.

Altmaier’s rich rewards

A first career top-50 win over Jan-Lennard Struff has catapulted qualifier Daniel Altmaier into uncharted territory at Grand Slam level. 

It’s also heavily boosted his bank balance. Check out the sums by TV statistician Enrico Maria Riva, this is a huge payday so far for the German.

Champions motivating Jabeur

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, through to take on eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka, wasn’t exactly overjoyed by the chilly autumnal feel in Paris, but is trying to adopt the mentality of the Slam champions getting the job done.

“I'm going to be honest here. I was like, ‘Why are we playing?’ Obviously, I was looking how Rafa (Nadal) was taking this whole situation. To be honest, if he's a champion and he doesn't complain about it, I mean, who am I to complain about it right now?

“I have a very positive team behind me. They always push me. For me playing here, I'm grateful. I'm trying to take every opportunity. There is no more tournament kind of left for this season. You have to give it all.

“You can see the motivation out of some players. Victoria Azarenka inspired me a lot, coming from US Open, going to Rome. For me, looking at these players, champions, inspires me, gives me motivation to go far.”

Ons Jabeur, Roland Garros 2020, second round©Philippe Montigny / FFT

Going under the radar…

Two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson has earned a clash with Hamburg champion Andrey Rublev

Marton Fucsovics, who dismantled fourth seed Daniil Medvedev, rolled on in straight sets past Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini made it an Open Era record with five Italian men into the last 32. Bravo! The seventh seed defeated Lloyd Harris 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, and will next face Altmaier for a second-week berth.