Giorgi storms past Sabs into fourth round
A RIDICULOUSLY dominant last two sets has resulted in 28th Italian Camila Giorgi claiming a three set win over seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka to advance through to the fourth round at Roland Garros. Giorgi dropped the first set 6-4, before taking complete control of the match against the powerful player to win the last two sets 6-1 6-0 in what was a day where the top half of the draw further opened up.
The seventh seeded Belarusian looked determined early on, forcing Giorgi to close out the opening game of the match in seven minutes and 38 seconds, before holding herself courtesy of a couple of winners. A number of unforced errors off the Italian’s racket got her into a little trouble midway through the set, with the Belarusian comfortably holding her game. That trouble became a lot worse when an unforced error followed by a double fault in the seventh game handed Sabalenka the break and what would become the set, 6-4.
Giorgi was matching it with Sabalenka for winners in the first set, as both hit 12, whilst Sabalenka hit less unforced errors (8-13), and only dropped one point off her first serve, and six off her second compared to the Italian’s six and 10. It would just take Sabalenka’s first serve of the second set – in game two – for Giorgi to have her first break, with Sabalenka hitting two unforced errors. A second break would come in the fourth game as Sabalenka’s powerful game looked hesitant and in the blink of an eye, Giorgi was out to a 4-0 lead.
Sabalenka would convincingly break back in the fifth game which gave a sense she might be up for the fight, breaking to love courtesy of two winners. But unfortunately for her, she would be broken straight back and Giorgi would hold to take the set 6-1. That game Sabalenka won would be the last game she did in the match, as Giorgi would string off eight straight games to win back-to-back sets in 58 minutes. It is not to say Sabalenka did not fight right to the end, even hitting three consecutive winners in the final game of the match to set up a break point, but Giorgi held well off a couple more Sabalenka unforced errors.
Sabalenka’s second set only produced three winners for nine unforced errors as she struggled on teh cly. Despite Giorgi serving four double faults and only winning three of 10 off her second serve, she was able to capitalise off her first (nine of 12), whilst Sabalenka won just four points on her serve – a vast drop off from her first set – and then only nine points in the third set. Usually when the seventh seed goes to water, it involves a lot of double faults and unforced errors, but neither were massively prevalent, and it was more hesitation that cost her.
Giorgi would end up hitting 23 winners to 20, and only 22 unforced errors to 27, yet served a whopping nine double faults for only two aces. By comparison, Sabalenka served three aces and four double faults, but of the 30 points she won on serve, 21 came in the first set. She effectively ran at 25.7 per cent success rate off her serve, all from her first serves, winning no points off her second serve.
AROUND THE COURTS
The day was marred by a couple of retirements, with the biggest being Spanish third seed and arguably second favourite for the title, Paula Badosa going down to Veronika Kudermetova 6-3 2-1 before deciding to call it quits after 68 minutes. There was also a retirement on the main court, Philippe-Chatrier, with Frenchwoman Alize Cornet out after nine games, suffering at 6-3 3-0 down against Chinese teenage talent Qinwen Zheng. Zheng hit 16 winners for only four unforced errors in those nine games – 13 in the first set – to set herself up to face top seed Iga Swiatek. The Pole defeated Danka Kovinic.
In other results, Irina-Camelia Begu advanced by defeating surprise packet Leolia Jeanjean in a bad day for the French, while Madison Keys was one of two winners for the United States, grinding out a thrilling 3-6 6-1 7-6 super tiebreak victory over Elena Rybakina. Her compatriot Jessica Pegula became the second highest ranked seed remaining in the Round of 16, defeating 24th seed Tamara Zidansek.
There were no such surprises in the men’s draw, with all the higher ranked players winning through to the fourth round. The last remaining Frenchman bowed out, with both Gilles Simon and Hugo Gaston suffering defeats at the hands of Marin Cilic and Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune respectively. Second seed Daniil Medvedev and fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas brushed aside their respective opponents, with 11th seed Jannik Sinner and 12th seed Hubert Hurkacz also winning in straight sets. In the two tighter matches, Casper Ruud came from two sets to one down against Lorenzo Sonego to post a 6-2 6-7 1-6 6-4 6-3 victory in three hours and 24 minutes, while seventh seed Andrey Rublev needed three hours and seven minutes to shake off clay specialist Cristian Garin 13-11 in the fourth set tiebreaker, for a 6-4 3-6 6-2 7-6 win.