Stef on the attack, Serena and Aryna move on


Stefanos Tsitsipas puts up remarkable numbers up at the net as Serena Williams and Aryna Sabalenka claim hard-fought wins

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roland Garros 2021, second round© Julien Crosnier/FFT

Greek No.5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was an impressive 26/27 at the net as he utilised his attacking game to full effect in his straight-sets victory over Spaniard Pedro Martinez in the Roland-Garros second round on Wednesday.

A semi-finalist in Paris last year, Tsitsipas needed two hours and 27 minutes to move past the world No.103 and book a third-round meeting with American No.31 seed John Isner.

Tsitsipas hit 45 winners, including eight aces, and committed 30 unforced errors.


"It was a very tough match despite it finishing in three sets," the 22-year-old Tsitsipas said after the win.

"It feels good to be back at Roland-Garros. I like playing here. It brings back memories from when I was little, watching the tournament. It's great to be part of it.

"I find the clay here one of the best clay courts in the world maybe and one of the best clay courts I have played at. It's one of the most prestigious events of our sport. I'm really happy to be part of it."

Sabalenka toughs it out

Later on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, Belarusian No.3 seed Aryna Sabalenka got the better of her compatriot, world No.103, Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-5, 6-3 to move into the last-32 stage.

In a tense tussle that witnessed a combined 14 breaks of serve, Sabalenka won just 7/30 points behind her second serve (23%) but still managed to advance to a third-round meeting with Russian No.31 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

"I would say it wasn't a great level from me today, but I'm really proud of myself that I was fighting no matter what, kind of trying to find my rhythm. I'm really happy with this win. It was tough battle," explained Sabalenka.

The Belarusian has another difficult test ahead of her with Pavlyuchenkova enjoying a strong clay-court campaign that includes semi-final runs in Madrid in both singles and doubles coming into Paris.

Serena the smiling assassin

Over on Court Philippe-Chatrier, Serena Williams came through a fun chess match with Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu to punch her ticket to the third round with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 victory.


Williams, who improved her Roland-Garros record to 68-13, converted 5 out of 14 break point opportunities and hit 26 winners against 27 unforced errors in a performance that required tremendous all-court prowess from both players.

The hot shots from both sides of the net were so outrageous that Williams and Buzarnescu found themselves laughing during the contest at some of the winners they were able to pull off.

The three-time Roland-Garros champion will next play her fellow American Danielle Collins for a place in the fourth round.

Serena Williams, Roland Garros 2021, second round© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Marathon man Kei does it again

Kei Nishikori lived up to his marathon man reputation once again as he posted the 26th five-set victory of his career - and second of the week - with a gruelling 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Russian No.23 seed Karen Khachanov.

Nishikori, currently ranked 49 in the world, now owns a remarkable 26-7 win-loss record in five-set matches and has won 10 of the last 11 five-set clashes he has contested.

A three-time quarter-finalist at Roland-Garros, Nishikori also needed five sets to come through his opening round against Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi earlier this week.

The 31-year-old has spent eight hours and two minutes on court through his first two matches in Paris.

Kei Nishikori, Roland Garros 2021, second round© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Daniil finds his clay feet

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev doubled his number of match-wins at Roland-Garros with a convincing four-set success over American former junior champion Tommy Paul in a night-session showdown.

Medvedev, who was 0-4 win-loss on Parisian clay prior to this fortnight, needed two hours and 18 minutes to complete the 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 victory and set up a third round against American No.32 seed Reilly Opelka.

Other results

Norwegian 15th seed Casper Ruud moved into the third round in Paris for a second consecutive year with a smooth 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Poland's Kamil Majchrzak to book a last-32 date with Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

In doubles first action, 40-year-old Venus Williams and 17-year-old Coco Gauff fell to the duo of Ellen Perez and Zheng Saisai 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3.

Chilean No.22 seed Cristian Garin rallied back from two sets down for the third time in his career with a 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-3, 8-6 triumph over American Mackenzie McDonald.

Garin saved two match points in the third-set tiebreak and finished the clash with 71 winners and 59 unforced errors. He next faces another American, Marcos Giron, who ousted Guido Pella in four sets.