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French Open: Sabalenka, Rybakina survive scares; Mirra Andreeva, 17, reaches fourth round

French Open: Sabalenka, Rybakina survive scares; Mirra Andreeva, 17, reaches fourth round

Paris, June 1 (SocialNews.XYZ) Second seed Aryna Sabalenka, fourth seed Elena Rybakina, and upcoming youngster Mirra Andreeva advanced to the fourth round of the French Open, winning their women's singles third-round matches in contrasting styles. On another day disrupted by incessant rains that have lashed Paris for the last many days, Sabalenka and Rybakina both overturned early break deficits to make the second week of Roland Garros for a second time each.

Sabalenka came from 5-3 down in the first set to race away 7-5, 6-1 against Paula Badosa in 77 minutes. Earlier, Rybakina had posted a 6-4, 6-2 win over No.25 seed Elise Mertens in 67 minutes. Last year, Sabalenka's semifinal run in Paris marked the first time she had made the Roland Garros second week. She returns to that stage for a second year running and is now two matches away from a seventh consecutive Grand Slam semifinal showing.


Rybakina had reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in Paris back in 2021, defeating Serena Williams in the 23-time Grand Slam champion's final match at Roland Garros. However, she fell in the 2022 third round to Keys and withdrew ahead of her 2023 third round against Sara Sorribes Tormo due to illness.

Mirra Andreeva and Peyton Stearns saw their scheduled match move from Court 6 to Court 7 to, finally, Court 2. Waiting all day to play a critical match and then functioning in those difficult conditions is what it means to be a professional. The 17-year-old Andreeva cooled off Stearns -- who came in with a career-best seven-match winning streak -- advancing to the fourth round with a 6-2, 6-7 victory. It took all of 67 minutes.

Andreeva is the youngest player in either draw coming in and nearly five years younger than Stearns. Andreeva has played nearly as many WTA Tour-level matches (43) as Stearns (51).

Three days ago, unseeded Naomi Osaka took No.1 seed Iga Swiatek to the brink of defeat, it was Sabalenka's turn to be pushed hard by a former Top-3 player on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Paula Badosa, who has spent the past year battling a back injury and whose ranking has fallen to No.139, came up with some of her best tennis to lead 5-3 in the first set.

The first eight games had seen five breaks of serve between the two. But Sabalenka responded by tightening up her game, dropping just one more point on serve in the first set as she rattled off eight straight games to take a 4-0 lead in the second. Her drop shot proved crucial, too, garnering her three key points en route to her first-set comeback and then the penultimate point of the match.

Sabalenka has now won five straight matches against her good friend Badosa and leads the overall head-to-head 5-2. Afterward, she emphasized her belief in the Spaniard's ability to come back strongly from her struggles.

Before this match, Rybakina had won four of her five encounters with Mertens, including a 6-1, 6-0 rout in this year's Brisbane third round. However, the Belgian had been the victor in their only previous clay contest, at Madrid 2021, and pushed Rybakina hard in the first set.

Drawing errors from Rybakina with superb defense and using her shot variety smartly, Mertens twice led by a break. But the former Wimbledon champion broke back immediately both times and after levelling at 4-4 controlled the flow of the match with supreme ball-striking.

Rybakina's backhand was in particularly smooth form: that wing contributed a pinpoint lob to hold for 5-4 and a bullet-like return en route to breaking for the set; a superb short-angled pass to bring up her first match point, and a down-the-line winner, her 24th of the match, to seal victory.

Rybakina will next face either No.15 seed Elina Svitolina or Ana Bogdan.

Source: IANS

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French Open: Sabalenka, Rybakina survive scares; Mirra Andreeva, 17, reaches fourth round

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