Over the course of the past few months, as Iga Swiatek’s titles and wins have ominously piled up, it has become increasingly clear that the French Open women’s draw could be summed up as Swiatek versus the rest of the field. So far, however, many of the other top players with the pedigree to challenge Swiatek have barely shown up.
Thursday’s action saw more upsets to familiar names as the former No 1 Karolina Pliskova, the eighth seed, was defeated 6-2, 6-2 by the French wildcard Leolia Jeanjean, while the 2018 champion Simona Halep, seeded 19th, fell 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 to the 19-year-old Zheng Qinwen. With the ninth seed Danielle Collins losing 6-4, 6-3 to Shelby Rogers, seven of the top 10 women’s seeds are out of the draw before the third round.
As the upsets have piled up, Swiatek has continued unabated. She reached the third round with a ballistic 6-0, 6-2 win over Alison Riske. Such was her dominance over the former top 20 player, the American was reduced to cheering exuberantly after winning one solitary game at 0-6, 0-3 down.
Swiatek has now won 30 matches in a row, an achievement bettered this century by only Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Justine Henin. She has now dished out 15 6-0 sets just five months into this season; only five women have registered more in an entire season since 2000.
Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu narrowly avoided a default after bouncing her racquet into the crowd during her 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4 upset of Ekaterina Alexandrova. The racquet narrowly missed a child in the crowd, who began to cry out of fear.
“It’s an embarrassing moment for me, so I don’t want to talk too much about it.” said Begu, sheepishly. “I just want to apologise. My whole career I didn’t do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. So I’m just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me.”
In the men’s draw, Daniil Medvedev continued to move through his section without issue, reaching the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Laslo Djere. As his affinity for clay-court tennis grows, Medvedev will get his first real test as he faces the in-form 28th seed Miomir Kecmanovic.
“Not gonna lie, I prefer hard courts,” said Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion. “I think I can play better there. That’s why I can preserve my body there, quite important for a tennis player. But when I am on clay courts, I want to win. That’s the most important. Not gonna say I love it, but, yeah, trying to figure out how to do good results on clay.”
On Thursday evening, the 29th seed Dan Evans lost in four sets to Mikael Ymer of Sweden, who reached the third round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win. With Evans’s defeat, Cameron Norrie, the 10th seed, is the last British singles player remaining at the French Open. He faces the 21st seed Karen Khachanov on Friday.