Second round of the singles competition in Roland Garros 2023 has started on Wednesday with all the 16 matches from the bottom half being played to emerge the field of third round participants from this section of main draw.
Blinkova upsets Garcia
The biggest hope of French crowd for the successful run in singles got already eliminated in second round, as the 5th seed Caroline Garcia came up short to Anna Blinkova. The world's number 56 has fought back from being a set and break down against the favorized French, and performed the upset after an exciting battle in deciding set, which has lasted 77 minutes. Garcia was a pre-match favorite with an odd 1.43 and played with a great composure in first set, where both players were serving quite well and the 5th seed has capitalized on just one weak service game of her lower ranked opponent to clinch the opening set with a score 6-4, not facing any single breakpoint on the road. The home crowd's favorite started second set well with another break, but dropped the ball since then by surprisingly losing 3 service games in a row. Blinkova won this set 6-3 and forced the decider, where she took the early lead in 3rd game.
The upset was close to come true in 10th game, when Blinkova was serving for the match, but the Russian did not convert any of two matchpoints and allowed her higher rated opponent to come back into contention. Despite this, Blinkova retook the lead in 11th game and got another chance to serve for the match. The 12th game was a battle of nerves, as the unseeded player was struggling to cross the finish line, but made it finally after 6th matchpoint in this game and 8th in general.
Blinkova has earned the chance to revenge on Elina Svitolina for the loss in last week's final of WTA 250 in Strasbourg. The Ukrainian has also scored a comeback win today, defeating Storm Hunter 2-6 6-3 6-1. The Australian started the match really well by winning the opening set in confident style and moving up into 2-1 lead with a break in second set. Svitolina has fought back from this, as she broke her opponent 5 times in a row and dominated the match since the middle of second set till the end.
Sabalenka and Pegula move through
Both the highest seeds of this half of the draw made are already in 3rd round. Jessica Pegula has needed to play just one set against Camila Giorgi, who pulled out of the match due to the knee injury after losing the opening set 2-6 to the 3rd seed. Aryna Sabalenka was facing her fellowcountry Iryna Shymanovich, the world's number 214 who entered the main draw from qualifying. The much lower ranked Belarusian showed up well in the opening set, as Sabalenka needed to put some effort to win it 7-5 after 55 minutes of battle, where Shymanovich managed to come back from being down a break and was near to force the tiebreak, but got finally broken in 12th game. The second set was much more under control of Sabalenka, who secured the 3rd round spot after 1,5 hours of play.
Pegula plays against Elise Mertens next, as the 28th seed defeated Camila Osorio 6-3 7-6(3) to the delight of large and loud Belgian crowd, supporting their top racquet from the stands. Sabalenka will face the world's number 82 Kamilla Rakhimova, who eliminated Magdalena Frech with a score 6-3 6-4.
Pavluychenkova endures Samsonova
The runner-up from Roland Garros 2021 still feels really well in Paris, despite missing the last year's French Open due to an injury, which deprived her from the competition for a period of long months. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who plays in main draw on the basis on protected ranking, has eliminated her fellowcountry Liudmila Samsonova after 3:05 hours of battle with a score 4-6 7-5 7-5. After both players sharing two sets between them, the current world's number 15 was very close to prevail in the decider.
Samsonova was leading 3-0 and 5-2, staying in front of the chance to serve for the match. This was still just a single break advantage and Pavlyuchenkova managed to come back level in 9th game, starting the turnover of this match which ended up by the victory of the 31 years-old Russian after the series of 5 games won in a row. Pavlyuchenkova meets another seeded fellowcountry in third round, as Anastasia Potapova scored a victory against Mayar Sherif, coming back from being a set down and winning 3-6 6-4 6-1.
Tauson comes back to the top 100
Clara Tauson has defeated Leylah Fernandez 6-3 5-7 6-4 to advance into third round, equaling her career's best Grand Slam result from the Australian Open 2022. The Dane, who was a rising star two years ago and showed up as a great talent by winning 3 WTA tournaments in the age of 18, has secured her comeback into the top 100 of WTA rankings after Roland Garros. Tauson was struggling due to injury issues for about a year, but the successful campaign in Paris, where she advanced into 3rd round as a qualifier, brings back the hopes of further development of talented 20 years-old. Tauson meets another qualifier Elina Avanesyan on Friday. Tauson's peer has also approached this stage of competition starting from qualies. Avanesyan has defeated Leolia Jeanjean 6-0 7-5, and depending on further results is also close to advance into top 100 of the rankings.
Stearns impresses against Ostapenko
Peyton Stearns is definitely one of the most improved players of this season. The American, who earned her first match victory on WTA level as a wild card receiver during the February's WTA 250 ATX Open in Texas, reached out the 3rd round of Grand Slam after defeating the Roland Garros 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko. Stearns has survived the exciting battle, where both players were playing offensively and showed some multiple great strikes throughout whole the match. Stearns showed a great determination and energy till the end of three-setter, where she prevailed 6-3 1-6 6-2. The 21 years-old American climbs in the rankings, as she will surely improve her current career's peak 69th place.
Winning the next match can even secure the top 50 spot for Stearns, who meets Daria Kasatkina in 3rd round. The 9th seed was not a pre-match favourite against Marketa Vondrousova, who showed quite a better form during the European clay swing. Despite this, Kasatkina did not join the field of seeds who are already eliminated from French Open at this stage, and moved through with a routined win 6-3 6-4.