Today was the beginning of third round action at the second grand slam of the year as the seeds started to face each other. My feature match heading into the day was Pablo Carreno Busta against Grigor Dimitrov.
In the first match on Court 1, Pablo Carreno Busta continued his supreme clay court form as he moved past the higher-ranked Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Dimitrov was quite erratic throughout the match and in the end it was Carreno Busta who was the more consistent in the match. Dimitrov started unbelievably as his backhand was firing on the way to going out to a 0-4 lead. When he was down, Carreno Busta started to get into a groove and started to get his shots a lot deeper. His first game of the match was a marathon game but after that he was really dominating as he levelled the scores at 5-5 before taking the last two games of the set. The second set started in a very tight manner but at 3-3 Carreno Busta managed to carve out a break and two games later he captured his third game in a row as he broke to take the second set 6-3 in just over three quarters of an hour. The final set was quite erratic as both men exchanged breaks a couple of times but Carreno Busta was the one who managed to keep his game solid enough towards the end. Eventually the Spaniard got the final set 6-4 to take the match and with the win he went into the first fourth round at a slam of his career.
The home favourite Kristina Mladenovic had to fight hard in a long match before eventually overcoming last years quarterfinalist at the French Open Shelby Rogers 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 in two hours and forty-five minutes. It was a nervy performance for Mladenovic and at the end of the match she put her win down to the support she received from the French crowd. Rogers came out playing confidently and she was really aggressive as it was a tight opener up until to 5-5 in the opener. Mladenovic eventually took the opener but she didn’t stop celebrating the set early enough as Rogers went up an early break in the second. Thats all the American needed on the way to forcing a deciding set and in the decider Rogers started well. Mladenovic was paralysed with nerves at the beginning and the American got out to a 2-5 lead. Mladneovic managed to calm her nerves and get it back to 5-5 and in one final effort Rogers won one last game before the Frenchwoman fulfilled the crowds wishes and won the match. This was Mladenovic’s second match this tournament in which she was been forced to play “over-time,” which she will be looking to change in an attempt to reserve energy.
The defending champion Novak Djokovic was really pushed today as he eventually overcome Diego Schwartzman 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the third match on Philippe-Chatrier Court. Djokovic wasn’t playing to badly throughout the whole match and I would give Schwartzman all the credit for taking those two sets. The first set was very high quality and both players had opportunities to put themselves in good places to close the set but in the end Schwartzman’s counterpunching got him through the very tight set. The Argentinian lowered his level as he dropped the second 6-3 but he roared back to life for the third set as he went up an early break, which carried him through to take the third set 6-3. The stage was set for an upset at that moment with Schwartzman having the upper hand but he really came back down to earth for the last two sets. Djokovic started to play more aggressively and it looked like Schwartzman had everything taken out of him as the Serbian didn’t have to do much on the way to taking those final two sets 6-1, 6-1. Even though the end result wasn’t what Schwartzman would have hoped for he should be really proud for his efforts in the first three sets because he was playing really well and he was in control of the world number 2.
The other match that I kept a close eye on ended up being postponed due to the light at the end of the day and that was Caroline Wozniacki facing Catherine Bellis, so I won’t review that today but might do it tomorrow.