French Open 2023: Garcia beaten by Blinkova, Ostapenko also out

PARIS (Agencies): Home favourite Caroline Garcia became the highest-ranked women’s player to exit the French Open so far with a second-round loss to Anna Blinkova.

Fifth seed Garcia saved eight match points before succumbing to a 4-6 6-3 7-5 defeat by the Russian.

Garcia was the 16th seed to exit the women’s draw as the second round got under way on Wednesday.

It came after former champion Jelena Ostapenko suffered a shock defeat by tournament debutant Peyton Stearns.

Latvian 17th seed Ostapenko, the 2017 champion at Roland Garros, lost 6-3 1-6 6-2 to the American. Stearns, 21, is playing in her first overseas Grand Slam after making her major debut at last year’s US Open.

Her first-round victory over doubles world number one Katerina Siniakova was her first at a Grand Slam.

She will face ninth seed Daria Kasatkina next, after the Russian breezed past Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 6-4. Third seed Jessica Pegula advanced as Italy’s Camila Giorgi withdrew through injury after losing the first set 6-2.

American Pegula will next play Belgian 28th seed Elise Mertens, who defeated Colombia’s Camila Osorio 6-3 7-6 (7-3). Earlier, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina recovered from a shaky start to beat Australian Storm Hunter 2-6 6-3 6-1.

Three-time French Open quarter-finalist Svitolina, making her Grand Slam return after becoming a mother in October, will play Blinkova next.

Svitolina said watching her husband, French player Gael Monfils, battle to a five-set victory on Tuesday in a match which finished after midnight local time had spurred her on against Hunter. “I was up until midnight when the match was done and went to bed straight away,” she said.

“He was there for me today. He made such a big effort to come and support me, especially on a tough day like today. “It really motivated me to fight and not give up and play every point, try to put 100% effort out there.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Roberto Carballes Baena to reach third round: Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the French Open third round with a straight-set victory over Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

The Greek, runner-up at Roland Garros in 2021, won 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Tsitsipas, 24, next plays Argentine Diego Schwartzman or Portugal’s Nuno Borges, both of whom are unseeded. “It’s a spiritual type of surface,” said Tsitsipas about playing on clay in Paris.

“I’m attached to it because I played on that surface since I started playing tennis.” Tsitsipas has never won a Grand Slam, having lost in the French Open and Australian Open finals.

He broke Carballes Baena twice in winning the first set and, although he broke twice again in the second, Carballes Baena responded immediately each time as four games in a row went against serve.

Tsitsipas took the tie-break, quickly went 4-0 up in the third and served out to complete victory in two hours 16 minutes.

Asked about the way clay courts are cleaned and watered between sets, he said: “Those rituals, I have seen them over and over again. “It’s kind of ingrained in me and it’s part of my identity.

“It’s a cleansing of the soul. It’s just like a knife. You let the old pass and you start with the new.”