Paris | Alcaraz and Sinner succeed on a rainy day.

Rain, rain and more rain spoilt the fourth day of the French Open forcing the five matches on the outside courts which opened play in the morning, to be suspended without completing a set. They were never recalled meaning all the action was centred on the two main courts with a retractable roof resulting in only five of the second-round matches were completed with 11 having to be rescheduled.

You have to be really focused on every match and every point in every round, it doesn’t matter that I’m at the top of the rankings playing someone that is outside of the top 100 Carlos Alcaraz

Amongst those which did make progress was the Carlos Alcaraz encounter with the Dutchman Jesper de Jong which proved a very testing affair for the 21-year-old Spaniard.

For much of the match, Alcaraz, seeded three, outclassed his 23-year-old opponent but he showed some vulnerability as the Dutchman struck back in the third before eventually, after battling over three hours, capitulated 6-3 6-4 2-6 6-2.

De Jong, a qualifier playing in only his second grand slam and had required five sets to oust Jack Draper in the opening round, was outclassed in the first two sets, but thanks to some brilliant shot-making, he made a match of it breaking Alcaraz twice in the third and then even going up a break 2-1 in the fourth!

Alcaraz, though, recovered his poise and took control to pocket the five consecutive games to settle the match.

There was no doubt that Alcaraz was a bit rusty, reflected in the match stats where he recorded 47 unforced errors but did manage 35 winners.

“This kind of tournament – every player can put you in trouble,” Alcaraz said afterwards.

“You have to be really focused on every match and every point in every round, it doesn’t matter that I’m at the top of the rankings playing someone that is outside of the top 100.

“You have to think that you should play at your best if you want to get through. Obviously, the ranking doesn’t matter. What matters is the work that he puts in, and he has the level to keep going, and I’m sure he’s going to break the top 100.

“In the first set, I knew that I had to forget about putting on a show and try to put myself in with a chance of being in the rally – five, six, seven balls in a point – it was difficult for me to do it.

“I was in trouble a little bit, and I had to do it at the end. The whole match, Jesper and I made some great drop shots, but I think he did it better than me.

“I’d rather not spend too much time on the court. I really want to be in good shape for the next round, but every match is different. One match can be an hour and a half, the next is three hours. It’s good for me to get the rhythm, but I’d rather spend less hours on court.”


Jannik Sinner was hampered by cramp

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

One of Alcaraz’s main rivals, Jannik Sinner, was in action in the evening schedule and he had a much more comfortable passage through to round three.

The pair are scheduled to meet in the semi-finals which if they survive through to the last four, could produce one of the matches of the tournament.

Meanwhile Sinner, the 21-year-old Italian who won the Australian Open title last January, cruised past French veteran Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-2 6-4 but, remembering that he is recovering from a hip injury, seemed to be struggling a bit with cramp or some leg issues. Hopefully its just a matter of getting back into the swing of competition.

Speaking after his win, he acknowledged the support the crowd had been giving his opponent.

“The atmosphere has been amazing. I know you guys were cheering for Richard, but it has been a very, very fair crowd,” Sinner said. “He gave as a player, and still gives so much for tennis. It’s so nice to have him around … he’s still playing incredible tennis.”

The other results saw Greek star, Stefanos Tsitsipas eased past the dangerous German Daniel Altmaier 6-3 6-2 6-7(2, 6-4. Altmaier led with a break 4-3 in the fourth before dropping three of the final four games.

He was joined by Russia’s Andrey Rublev, seeded six, who dismissed Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-3 6-4 6-3 and finally, Russia’s Pavel Kotov eliminated 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka 7-6(5) 6-4 1-6 7-6(5) in a match which finished after midnight.


Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a tough four setter

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)



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