Daniil Medvedev reached the fourth round of the French Open for the first time on Friday, brushing aside American Reilly Opelka in straight sets while German sixth seed Alexander Zverev eased into the last 16 for the fourth successive year with a straight-sets win over Serbia’s Laslo Djere.
The Russian second seed, who had lost in the first round on each of his four previous appearances, won the last-32 encounter 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 on Court Suzanne Lenglen. The 25-year-old, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up, will face Cristian Garin for a last-eight spot after the Chilean beat US player Marcos Giron 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
The 24-year-old Zverev, last year’s US Open runner-up, saw off the 55th-ranked Djere 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
In the night session, Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas recovered from a set down to beat John Isner. Tsitsipas, a semi-finalist in 2020, won 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 and will face Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno-Busta for a place in the quarter-finals.
In one of the most exciting matches of the day, in-form Norwegian youngster Casper Ruud was knocked out by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a marathon match which lasted more than four-and-a-half hours.
The Spaniard clinched victory in a dramatic final game on his fifth match point, winning 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 0-6, 7-5 to secure a last-16 date with Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.
Davidovich-Fokina even saved one of four break points in that last game with an underarm serve. “I didn’t think. I didn’t know that I will do the underarm serve,” he said.
Isner was the fourth American man to lose Friday after Steve Johnson, Reilly Opelka and Marcos Giron.
Medvedev started slowly against the 6ft 11in (2.11m) Opelka, falling 1-3 behind in the opening set, but broke his opponent five times from then on without facing another break point himself.
The comfortable nature of victory was welcome for Zverev, who had fought back from two sets down to beat unheralded compatriot Oscar Otte in round one before edging three tight sets against Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin.
“This is the main goal of my tennis career, to win Grand Slams, to reach the top of the rankings. I feel like the last year I’m on the right track again,” said Zverev, in the opposite half of the draw to Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
He will next face former world No 4 Kei Nishikori, whose third-round opponent Henri Laaksonen retired injured following the opening set, for a quarter-final spot.
Nishikori had taken the first set 7-5 when the Swiss qualifier quit. The short outing would have been a relief for the 31-year-old who spent more than eight hours on court over the first two rounds.
Rain briefly hit Roland Garros on Friday, but Zverev and Djere were able to continue under the Chatrier roof.
The world No 6, who beat Nadal en route to the Madrid Open title last month, struck 31 winners and four aces past Djere.
He dragged himself out of difficulty in the second set, saving three set points at 3-5 down on Djere’s serve, but won 10 of the next 12 games.
Alexander Zverev (GER x6) bt Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-2, 7-5, 6-2
Kei Nishikori (JPN) bt Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 7-5 - retired
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) bt Casper Ruud (NOR x15) 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 0-6, 7-5
Federico Delbonis (ARG) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x27) 6-4, 6-1, 6-3
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x5) bt John Isner (USA x31) 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1
Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x12) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Christian Garin (CHI x22) bt Marcos Giron (USA) 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
Daniil Medvedev (RUS x2) bt Reilly Opelka (USA x32) 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
Inputs from AFP
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