Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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French Open: Federer, Djokovic advance

Swiss eighth seed Roger Federer kept his cool to down Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to reach the French Open third round on Thursday.

Federer, 39, had some testy exchanges with the umpire before regaining his composure to advance in Paris as he continues his return to the big stage after a lengthy injury layoff.

Top seed Novak Djokovic produced an efficient performance to reach the third round in Paris for a 16th consecutive year.

The 34-year-old Serb won 6-3 6-2 6-4 in his first career meeting with tricky Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.

Djokovic will face Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis, ranked 93rd in the world, in the last 32 as he bids for a second title in Paris to follow up his sole win in 2016.

If Djokovic does lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires on 13 June, the world number one will close the gap on Nadal and Federer in terms of Grand Slam victories to one.

All three players find themselves in the same half of the Roland Garros draw – the first time that this has happened at a major tournament.

“I was a bit surprised by the level I played because I didn’t play so much lately,” said Federer, who faces 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer of Germany next.

“I was a bit on and off, but I served well in the tie-break. I am very pleased with the result.”

Defending champion Rafael Nadal plays his second-round match in the night session on Chatrier, taking on France’s Richard Gasquet for the right to face British number two Cameron Norrie in the next stage.

Meanwhile, Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest man since Ukraine’s Andrei Medvedev in 1992 to reach the third round when he beat 28th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in straight sets.

The world number 97, who turned 18 last month, won 6-4 6-2 6-4 against the Georgian.

Home favourite Gael Monfils was knocked out by Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, while Russian 24th seed Aslan Karatsev – a surprise Australian Open semi-finalist in February – was beaten by German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Italian ninth seed Matteo Berrettini and Argentine 10th seed Diego Schwartzman both progressed with straight-set wins.

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