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Canadians Fernandez, Auger-Aliassime advance to 4th round at French Open

Canadians Leylah Fernandez and Felix Auger-Aliassime have advanced to the fourth round of the French Open.

Fernandez, a 19-year-old Montreal native, passed Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in the main square of Roland Garros on Friday.

It’s the first time Fernandez, runner-up at the 2021 US Open, has progressed through the third round in Paris.

17th seed Fernandez broke Bencic in the 11th game of the deciding set and served out the match. She had saved two set points in the beginning.

“It was an incredible fight and I think today it was easy to trust my game when it mattered the most,” said Fernandez. “I’m glad I was able to trust him enough to go ahead and keep executing the game plan.”

Next Fernandez meets 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, who reached the semifinals of Roland Garros in 2019.

CLOCK | Fernandez advances to the 4th round at the French Open:

No. 17 Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que. defeated No. 14 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-5 3-6 7-5 to advance to the round of 16 of the French Open.

Anisimova, number 27, advanced when Karolina Muchova stopped playing after injuring her right ankle. Anisimova led 6-7(7) 6-2 3-0 when Muchova conceded.

Fernandez and Anisimova have only met once on the WTA Tour in Indian Wells in March, when the American was abruptly eliminated after losing a tie-break in the second set.

Anisimova eliminated four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in the first round.

Fernandez said she always looks forward to competing with other young players on tour.

“I think it’s great for the sport,” she said of the youth duel. “We can bring more young fans to tennis to enjoy the games and hopefully they can pick up a tennis racket.

“I think it’s great to see that we’re all improving every year. We continue to play against the best players in the world here and we can [hold] our own.”

The best result by a Canadian in the French Open singles draw came in 2014 when Eugenie Bouchard reached the semifinals.

In the men’s game, 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime defeated the Serb Filip Krajinovic 7:6 (3), 7:6 (2), 7:5. Auger-Aliassime fired 16 aces in the three-hour match.

“I expected a tough game today and it was,” said Auger-Aliassime. “But at the end of the day, I served really well… [it] was a good performance today.”

The ninth-placed Montreal native next meets Rafael Nadal of Spain, number 5. Auger-Aliassime is coached by Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal.

CLOCK | Auger-Aliassime reaches round of 16 at Roland Garros:

Auger-Aliassime advances to the round of 16 at Roland Garros

9th seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime from Montreal defeated the Serb Filip Krajinovic 7:6(3), 7:6(2), 7:5 to reach the round of 16 of the French Open for the first time in his career.

“I think Toni will watch from a neutral position and enjoy the game,” said Auger-Aliassime. “For my part, it’s another game and another opportunity to try and play a good game and win. But of course it’s very difficult.”

Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, advanced to the fourth round by defeating Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-3 6-2 6-4.

“I’m sure of that, even if [Toni] working with another player, I think it will be difficult for him to want me to lose,” Nadal said when asked about his uncle in a TV interview on Friday.

Djokovic records another win in straight sets

Defending champion Novak Djokovic recorded another straight-set win and will face Diego Schwartzman for a place in the quarterfinals at the French Open.

Top-ranked Djokovic beat Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour and 44 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier – the fastest of his three wins.

Schwartzman’s 0-6 record against Djokovic includes a five-setter in the third round at the 2017 French Open. The Argentine is seeded 15th.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not lost in the third round since 2009 at Roland Garros.

Begu was fined after hurling a bat into the crowd

A French Open player was fined $10,000 by the tournament after she threw her racquet and it bounced off the sand into the stands during a game.

Irina-Camelia Begu, a 31-year-old Romanian ranked 63, was summoned for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third set of her second-round win over 13th-round Ekaterina Alexandrova.

The game was on Thursday. The fine was announced on Friday.

After dropping a point, Begu walked to the touchline and threw her racquet, which flew behind chair umpire Anis Ressaissi’s seat and landed among the spectators seated on the sidelines. Fans gasped and a child was heard crying.

Tournament umpire Remy Azemar said the equipment “brushed a young spectator” who “turned out to be fine”.

In other games:

  • Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens beat French teenager Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3 to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros. The American finished runners-up in 2018 after winning the title at Flushing Meadows the year before. Stephens plays No. 23 Jil Teichmann, who rose by defeating two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka 4-6 7-5 7-6 (5).

  • Third-placed and last year’s semifinalist Alexander Zverev advanced to the fourth round with a 7-6(2) 6-3 7-6(5) win over American Brandon Nakashima. The German, who won Olympic gold in Tokyo last year, will play in the fourth round in Paris for the fifth consecutive year.

  • Coco Gauff reached the fourth round of the French Open with a win over Kaia Kanepi. 18-year-old Gauff, the youngest remaining woman in the draw, defeated 36-year-old Kanepi, the oldest remaining woman, 6-3, 6-4. The young American is trying to improve on her quarter-final run at Roland Garros a year ago.

  • Carlos Alcaraz displayed skillful drop shots and many other skillful shots to become the youngest man to reach the fourth round of the French Open since Novak Djokovic in 2006. 19-year-old Alcaraz advanced by defeating 21-year-old American Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 under the lights at Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday night.

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