Paris | Zheng and Navarro advance as Kasatkina, Pavlyuchenkova and Noskova bow out

Play continued late into the night as the schedule got back on track with the completion of round 3 at the French Open on Thursday, when there were wins for Zheng Qinwen and Emma Navarro, but Daria Kasatkina, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Linda Noskova joined the early exodus of seeds earlier in the day.

You just, kind of, don’t know what to expect [from the start-stop-start scheduling]. You have to accept that. I had a single expresso before I went out there. So it was like morning for me. Peyton Stearns

At 9.30pm there were still 15 courts with live matches on them, including singles and doubles, as yet more drama unfolded at Roland Garros under the lights, in a good move by the French tennis federation, who installed floodlights on every court at Roland Garros in 2021.

Peyton Stearns and Daria Kasatkina were in the early stages on Court 2, while Zheng and Tamara Korpatsch got under way on Court 8, and, over on Court 12, Noskova  was trailing Irina-Camelia Begu by a set.

China’s Zheng, the No 7 seed, efficiently eliminated German Korpatsch, 6-2 6-2, to move into the Last 32, where she will face Elina Avanesyan from Russia, who blitzed her compatriot Anna Blinkova, 6-3 6-0, earlier in the day.

The 21-year-old Chinese had defeated wild-card Alizé Cornet, 6-2 6-1, on Tuesday, sending the 34-year old Frenchwoman into retirement.

Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu upset No 27 seed Linda Noskova from the Czech Republic, 6-4 6-2, to reach the 3rd round of Roland-Garros in Paris.

33-year old Begu, ranked No 127, will play Frenchwoman Varvara Gracheva next.


Irina-Camelia Begu upset No 27 seed Linda Noskova to reach the 3rd round of Roland-Garros in Paris.

© Julian Finney/Getty Images

Navarro, the 22nd seed, ended the run of 2017 Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani, who had to qualify this year, beating the Italian 6-2 7-5 on Court 3 to set up a 3rd-round contest with Madison Keys, seeded 14.

The 23-year old American may not be a household name in sport yet, but her net worth is said to be more than that of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic put together, thanks to her billionaire father, investment mogul Ben.

She is also the granddaughter of ex-American football player turned coach, Frank Navarro.

Among his other ventures, Ben is the founder and owner of Sherman Financial Group, which counts Credit One Bank under its umbrella, and he has also dipped his toes into tennis by purchasing Charleston Tennis LLC via his Beemok Sports company in 2018.

Navarro, who reportedly boasts a staggering net worth of around $3billion (£2.35bn), dwarfs the wealth of tennis giants like Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, who have estimated net worths of $550million (£431m), $240m (£188m) and $220m (£173m), respectively.

Emma Navarro won her first match against Zeynep Sonmez easily, in straight sets, bagelling her Turkish opponent and losing just 2 games, but, against Errani, the 2021 NCAA Singles Champion had to dig deep to win in straight sets, despite her serve being broken 4 times.

The head-to-head between Navarro and Keys stands at 1-1, with Navarro winning their last encounter in Guadalajara in 2023.


Unseeded Peyton Stearns upset 10th seed Daria Kasatkina at Roland Garros on Thursday night

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Another American also made waves, unseeded Peyton Stearns, who upset No 10 seed Daria Kasatkina, 7-5 6-2, on Court 2.

Stearns, who has found a rich vein of form lately, implemented an attacking style to hit through the usually solid Kasatkina, but the Russian, who is generally very adept at soaking up pressure, was surprisingly poor in her defeat.

All of the waiting around all day to get on court did not disrupt Stearns one bit, and the 22-year-old from Cincinnati, who won an NCAA singles title at the University of Texas, used 17 forehand winners through the cold, damp and slow conditions to defeat Kasatkina in a match that didn’t start until after 9pm, and finished at 10.30pm.

“You just, kind of, don’t know what to expect,” the 62nd-ranked Stearns said about waiting to get on court as showers created a start-stop-start scheduling fiasco all around the grounds. “You have to accept that.

“I had a single expresso before I went out there,” she added with a smile. “So it was like morning for me.”

Kasatkina, a 2022 semi-finalist at Roland Garros, had a harder time with the situation, saying later: “Mentally, it’s tough to face the day when it’s a long wait. You have to be calm, but at the same time, you have to be ready to jump on the court. And you don’t know when.”

This is the 4th tournament for Stearns since she began working with Tom Hill, who used to coach two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Maria Sakkari.

Last week, Stearns claimed her first career WTA title, an event on clay at Rabat, Morocco, and celebrated by posing for photos while doing a one-handed handstand, a skill from her days in gymnastics, a sport her mother, Denise, used to do.

2021 runner-up in Paris Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also lost in straight sets, going down to Anna Bogdan from Romania, 6-4 6-4.

The Russian 20th seed leaked 30 unforced errors over the 2 sets, with Bogdan’s strong defence causing her all sorts of problems throughout the match.


17-year old Mirra Andreeva defeated 2-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka in a long and absorbing battle that ended at 1am on Friday morning at Roland Garros

© Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Another Russian, teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva defeated 2-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka from Belarus, 6-3 3-6 7-5, in a long and absorbing battle that ended at 1 am on Friday morning.

The last of the long day’s 55 matches attracted a decent crowd around Court 12 as the two entered their 3rd hour, and the 17-year-old Andreeva, who reached the 3rd round in Paris 12 months ago, held her nerve to come through the tight 3-setter against the No 19 seed.

Andreeva was a break up 3 times in the final set before eventually shaking off the 34-year old former World No 1 after 2 hours and 31 minutes of play.

She plays Stearns in the round of 32, with the winner reaching the 4th round in Paris for the first time..


Bianca Andreescu upset No 23 seeded Anna Kalinskaya to score her second win on her after injury late on Thursday

© Clive Mason/Getty Images

Bianca Andreescu, who won her second consecutive match in her first event back since a long injury, was also great viewing as the Canadian upset Anna Kalinskaya from Russia, 1-6 7-5 6-3.

Overcoming a weak first set, Andreescu turned the match around against the Russian to reach the 3rd round of a Grand Slam once again.

This is just Andreescu’s first tournament since the Canadian Open back in August 2023, and the former World No 4 has dropped in the rankings to outside the Top 200, but showed she still has the level to compete with the best players in the world.

In the first set, Kalinskaya dominated with strong service games, while Andreescu could do little to control her opponent’s effectiveness, the Russian having had an 80% first-serve rate and winning 80% of them, while the Canadian barely reached 50%.

Andreescu managed to save 3 break points against her own opening service game, but it was the only one she won, and Kalinskaya went on to snag 14 consecutive points, and pocketed a comfortable set.

From the second onwards, things changed, as Andreescu, who improved her first-serve effectiveness, managed to maintain equality throughout the set.

With no breaks from either side, a tiebreak seemed inevitable, but Andreescu got the break just at the right moment to take the set and level proceedings.

In the decider, break points came on both sides as they conceded opportunities, but Andreescu saved all the 6 break points she faced, while Kalinskaya, who faced the same amount, could only saved 5.

That single break gave the advantage to the Canadian to achieve her second consecutive win.


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