French Open 2021: Sofia Kenin, Elina Svitolina and Iga Swiatek into third round

Sofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina both progressed safely into third round of the French Open, while reigning champion Iga Swiatek made light work of her second-round opponent.

Kenin, last year’s runner-up, beat fellow American and qualifier Hailey Baptiste 7-5 6-3, while fifth-seeded Svitolina overcame the French Open debutant Ann Li 6-0 6-4.

Swiatek looked in superb form as she raced to a 6-1 6-1 victory over Rebecca Peterson in just 61 minutes.

The trio’s progression into the third round came on the day the world No 1 and 2019 champion, Ashleigh Barty was forced to withdraw from the Grand Slam due to a hip injury.

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Kenin has had a tough start to the season. The 2020 Australian Open champion underwent an emergency appendectomy in Melbourne in February and her record was 7-8 entering this clay-court Grand Slam.

In the first round, she was forced to go the distance against Jelena Ostapenko and she needed much of the opening set against Baptiste to problem-solve and decide how she was going to approach the rest of the encounter.

At five games apiece, Kenin broke to love and then went on an eight-point run in order to take a one-set lead. She then kept her foot on the gas to create a four-love cushion in the second set.

By this point. Kenin had got her eye in and she finished the set having won 85 per cent of points on her first serve and having hit 10 winners to just four unforced errors.

She will face fellow American Jessica Pegula next, after the 28th seed beat Tereza Martincova 6-3 6-3 on Court 11.

French Open progress…

Elina Svitolina has now reached at least the third round in seven out of her nine appearances.

The fifth seed Svitolina booked a third-round meeting with Barbora Krejcíkova after prevailing over Li on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

After racing through the first set and needing just 29 minutes to secure it 6-0, she suffered a loss of concentration.

The lapse in focus, coupled with Li swinging through on her forehand superbly, resulted in Svitolina facing a 3-0 and then, 4-1 deficit.

The world No 6 responded well though, and a final five-game run ensured her French Open campaign remains on track.

Iga Swiatek through two rounds at #RG21:

1R: d. Juvan 60 75
2R: d. Peterson 61 61

– Has held 14 of 16 service games
– Has broken serve in 11 of 16 return games
– Return points won vs. 2nd serve – 1R: 70%, 2R: 86%.

Faces 30th seed Kontaveit next.

Swiatek was last onto Court Simonne-Mathieu and she spent relatively little time there, as she overpowered the world No 60 Petersen in just 61 minutes.

The defending champion won 80 per cent of points on her first serve and created no less than 15 break point chances during the course of the match.

Swiatek hit 22 winners, just one fewer than the number of errors her opponent put on court, and she’ll now face the 30th seed Anett Kontaveit in the next round.

Elsewhere, Ons Jabeur and Magda Linette will meet after Jabeur beat wildcard Astra Sharma and Linette progressed following Barty’s retirement.

Coco Gauff, who lifted the girls’ singles title at Roland Garros just three years ago, reached the third round for the first time as the 17-year-old American battled past China’s Wang Qiang 6-3 7-6 (7-1).

Gauff eased through the opening set after jumping out to a 3-0 lead, but did not have things her own way after that against the player she beat to win the Parma title last month.

Former world No 12 Qiang served for the second set at 5-3 but was broken and then had a set point on the Gauff serve, after the American double-faulted.

The 24th seed Gauff showed great resilience to take the set into a tiebreak that she never looked like losing. After two straight-sets wins, Gauff will now face fellow American Jennifer Brady in the last 32.

Meanwhile, the former US Open champion Sloane Stephens beat a top 10 player for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

Stephens returned well and used her defensive skills to defuse Karolina Pliskova’s power for a 7-5 6-1 victory.

Stephens is ranked 59th in the world, and is out of the top 50 for the first time since 2017, but is always dangerous on clay. She was the runner-up at the 2018 French Open and made the quarter-finals in 2019.

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