French Open: Nadal and Djokovic win, Azarenka goes out – as it happened

Last modified: 05: 22 PM GMT+0

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both won in straight sets while Victoria Azarenka and Belinda Bencic were both knocked out

Time to wrap up this blog now, but Tumaini Carayol will be reporting on all the late action, including Cam Norrie v Karen Khachanov and Sebastian Korda v Carlos Alcaraz. I’ll leave you with his afternoon roundup. Thanks for joining me. Bye!

Zapata Miralles beats Isner 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3! The qualifier gets over the line this time, and will face either Zverev or Nakashima in the last 16. Before this run in Paris – where he has beaten three US players – Zapata Miralles had only ever won one grand slam match.

Bernabé Zapata Miralles, the world No 131.
Bernabé Zapata Miralles, the world No 131. Photograph: Christophe Petit-Tesson/EPA

Stephens beats Parry 6-2, 6-3! Sloane Stephens rather struggled to get the job done after that stoppage, with Diane Parry able to claw a couple of games back – but the former finalist does progress, and will play Jil Teichmann next.

Meanwhile, Zverev and Nakashima have gone to a tie-break – and it’s the No 3 seed who takes charge, winning it 7-2 to win the opening set.

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That’s a huge win for Jil Teichmann, fighting back from a set down after more than three hours on court. “It’s an amazing feeling,” she says afterwards. “It was a long battle, Victoria played incredible. The crowd made it feel like home!”

Azarenka’s exit means that the highest-ranked players in the bottom half of the draw are Leylah Fernandez and Coco Gauff.

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Teichmann beats Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10-5)!

Teichmann leads 8-4 at the second changeover – it’s first to 10 in the deciding set – and a brilliant backhand winner brings up five match points. Azarenka digs in to win the next rally, but another winner down the line seals victory!

A beaming Jil Teichmann soaks up the crowd’s applause after her victory over Victoria Azarenka.
A beaming Jil Teichmann soaks up the crowd’s applause after her victory over Victoria Azarenka. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Teichmann wins a net battle to go 5-3 up, then benefits from Azarenka errors to open a four-point gap. Stephens and Parry have resumed on Chatrier; I’m not sure what happened, but hope the spectator involved is OK.

This is a new format introduced this year – unlike regular tie-breaks, it’s the first to 10 points (rather than seven) who will prevail. It’s Teichmann who gets the early edge, finding winners to take a 3-1 lead ... which becomes 4-1 as Azarenka misfires. She gets a point back, but trails at the changeover.

Teichmann holds serve with relative comfort, and Azarenka will now have to serve to stay in the match. Tennis, it’s a funny old game. Teichmann misses a decent chance at 15-30, and Azarenka holds to set up a final-set tie-break!

Over on Court Philippe-Chatrier, Stephens and Parry have to pause their game while someone in the crowd receives medical assistance. Stephens currently leads 6-2, 5-1.

Can Azarenka close it out? You feel like there’s still time for another twist, and after going 15-30 down, she double-faults to hand over two break points. A superb return, a smashed half-volley, and Teichmann breaks straight back. Five-all in the third...

Victoria Azarenka fires a forehand from the baseline to Jil Teichmann.
Victoria Azarenka fires a forehand from the baseline to Jil Teichmann. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Elsewhere, Zverev and Nakashima are still on serve at 3-4 in the first set, while Zapata Miralles has broken Isner to gain an edge in the fifth set.

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Now then – with a final-set breaker looming, Azarenka ups the intensity, with some brutal groundstrokes eking out the errors. At 15-40 down, Teichmann sends a mistimed forehand long – and Azarenka will serve for the match!

John Isner looked to be heading home, trailing by two sets and a break to Spanish qualifier Bernabé Zapata Miralles – but he has fought back to set up a fourth-set tie-break. Even on clay, that’s Isner country – and he wins it 7-5 to force a decider!

In the mixed doubles, Britain’s Neal Skupski and his US partner, Desirae Krawczyk, are closing in on first-round victory. Elsewhere Coco Gauff, who won her singles match about three hours ago, is back on court with Jessica Pegula for a women’s doubles match.

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In the first set, Azarenka was winning twice as many rallies as Teichmann; now the Swiss is edging the longer points. Still on serve in the third, but Teichmann looks the fresher player after almost three hours on court.

On Chatrier, Sloane Stephens is closing in on a fourth-round place – she is 6-2, 4-1 up on the French teenager Diane Parry, who appears to have run into Stephens on a good day.

Azarenka has battled back to level the third set in what has become an attritional battle with Teichmann, who has plenty of support in the stands. Alexander Zverev is on court against Brandon Nakashima, with the American holding serve to kick things off.

Saturday’s schedule is out, with play on Chatrier opening up with the red-hot favourite Iga Swiatek against Danka Kovinic, before Zheng Qinwen v Alize Cornet, Gilles Simon v Marin Cilic, and then a battle of rising stars as Holger Rune faces Hugo Gaston in the night match.

On Lenglen, Leolia Jeanjean will bid to continue her fairytale run against Irina-Camelia Begu, before Daniil Medvedev takes on Miomir Kecmanovic. The women’s No 3 seed, Paula Badosa, faces Veronika Kudermetova before Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Mikael Ymer.

That’s not forgetting Mcdonald v Sinner, Giorgi v Sabalenka, Goffin v Hurkacz, Keys v Rybakina (all on Simonne-Mathieu), plus Rublev v Garin, Pegula v Zidansek, Rogers v Kasatkina and Ruud v Sonego on outside courts. Phew!

So, what’s going on around the grounds? On Chatrier, home hopeful Diane Parry – who dumped out the defending champion, Barbora Krejcikova, in the first round – is 5-2 down to Sloane Stephens in the first set.

On Court Simonne-Mathieu, Jil Teichmann has put together a four-game winning run at the perfect time – she now leads Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 2-0.

Auger Aliassime beats Krajinovic 7-6, 7-6, 7-5! It looked to be heading for a third straight tiebreak, but Felix Auger-Aliassime found a late break in the third set to see off the tireless Filip Krajinovic and book a showdown with Nadal. The Canadian is coached by ... Rafa’s uncle Toni. Oof!

Rafa Nadal raises his arms, salutes the crowd and heads back to his seat – only to find an excitable child waiting to greet him. He takes it all in his stride – big smile, hair-ruffle – until a red-faced parent comes down to intervene.

Nadal then chats to Marion Bartoli: “It’s a pleasure to play on Suzanne-Lenglen ... Botic played a good match, he’s a tough player. I let him back in to the third set, [but] I played my best match of the tournament so far until then.” And so concludes Rafa’s 301st singles win at a grand slam.

Rafa Nadal greets a young fan who wandered on to the court.
Rafa Nadal greets a young fan who wandered on to the court. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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Nadal beats Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-2, 6-4!

Van de Zandschulp has dug in really well from 4-1 down in this set and saves the first match point, before missing a decent chance to break again on Nadal’s second serve. Nadal finds an ace, and finishes things off with an overhead smash. Job done!

Rafael Nadal in action during his third round match against Botic Van De Zandschulp.
Rafael Nadal on his way to victory. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

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Djokovic, by the way, is into the fourth round in Paris for the 13th year in a row – in fact, he’s got to the quarter-finals here every year since 2009. Best of luck, Diego Schwartzman.

Van de Zandschulp backs up his break with a gritty hold of serve, before Nadal restores order, skidding into the net for a volleyed winner that puts him 5-4 up, and one game away from the last 16.

The finish line is in sight for Nadal, backed by a formidable 89% first-serve success rate – but Van de Zandschulp unexpectedly earns a break point with a cross-court winner, and breaks as Nadal sends a backhand wide! It’s the Dutchman’s first break of the match.

Elsewhere, Azarenka and Teichmann are locked at 4-4 in the second set, and it’s the same scoreline in the third between Auger-Aliassime and Krajinovic.

Jil Teichmann eyes the ball as she prepares a backhand return.
Jil Teichmann eyes the ball as she prepares a backhand return. Photograph: Christophe Petit-Tesson/EPA

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Nadal, constantly competing with Djokovic on an almost telepathic level, has broken Van de Zandschulp early in the third set to keep pace. He goes one better in the third game, wrapping up a double break with a frankly ridiculous cross-court winner.

Djokovic beats Bedene 6-3, 6-3, 6-2!

Djokovic and Bedene exchange holds of serve before the world No 1 pounces to pick up two match points on his opponents’ serve. He misses on the first, but it’s all over on the next point as Bedene slaps a forehand into the net!

Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning match point against Aljaz Bedene.
Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning match point against Aljaz Bedene. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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“John Isner is 37 now,” notes Ysabel Howard. “Oldest player at Roland-Garros?” In the men’s draw, there is still one older player – Gilles Simon, also 37 but born five months earlier. This also means that I am older than every player left in the men’s draw, which is a sobering thought.

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Djokovic breaks again! Bedene surrenders his serve, unforced errors offering Djokovic three break points which he happily accepts. He breezes through his service game, and just like that, he’s 4-1 up and two games from victory.

Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal wraps up the second set against Van de Zandschulp while his likely last-16 opponent, Auger-Aliassime, is taken to a tie-break by Krajinovic – but like the first set, he wins it to lead 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2).

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There are some masters of the clay-court game still in the mix at Roland Garros, but John Isner isn’t one of them. That said, big John is holding his own out on Court 7; he lost the first set to Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles, but is about to level up at 1-1.

Spotted in the crowd today: not one, not two legendary football managers. Arsène Wenger is watching on Chatrier, alongside Marcel Desailly and Clarence Seedorf ...

Wenger

While Zinedine Zidane and his wife, Veronique, are watching Rafa over on Suzanne-Lenglen. And who’s that on the left? It’s only Owen Wilson!

Owen Wilson and Zidane

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Unexpected struggles for Djokovic at the start of the third set, a couple of loose shots allowing Bedene his first break point of the match. The defending champ quickly moves up a gear, the first serve cranked up to get him out of trouble.

Any worries for Djokovic’s likely quarter-final opponent, Rafa Nadal? No, not really – he backs up the first set with an early break, and leads Van De Zandschulp 6-3, 3-1.

Rafael Nadal plays a forehand against Botic Van De Zandschulp,
Rafael Nadal stretches for a forehand. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Elsewhere, Victoria Azarenka has turned things round to win the first set 6-4 against Jil Teichmann. With Belinda Bencic going out earlier, Azarenka is now the top seed in the lower half of the draw.

Victoria Azarenka powers a forehand to Jil Teichmann.
Victoria Azarenka powers a forehand to Jil Teichmann. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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Djokovic leads 6-3, 6-3! The sun’s out in Paris and Novak Djokovic is turning out a textbook display of power. He won the first set 6-3 in 37 minutes, and has repeated the trick in the second set.

Thanks, Tom. Azarenka has reeled in Teichmann in their first set, which is back on serve at 4-4.

Meanwhile, Felix Auger-Aliassime is serving for a two-set lead over Filip Krajinovic. The Canadian is in solid form and ranked No 9 in the world, so why is he 100-1 to win the tournament? Well, probably because his potential path to glory reads Nadal-Djokovic-Alcaraz-Tsitsipas ...

Felix Auger-Aliassime fires down a serve.
Felix Auger-Aliassime fires down a serve. Photograph: Martin Divíšek/EPA

Anyway, Niall’s back from his late lunch so I’ll return you to his more than capable hands. Bye!

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Nadal wins first set against Van de Zandschulp 6-3. The No 5 seed doesn’t hang about, romping through three quick rallies to 40-0 and converting the first of his set points with an ace.

Rafael Nadal serves to Botic Van De Zandschulp.
Rafael Nadal serves to Botic Van De Zandschulp. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

And Bedene cheers himself up with an impressive service hold to love. He’s still a break down against Djokovic though, 2-3 in the second set.

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Rafa Nadal has taken control against Botic van de Zandschulp now, leading 5-3 after breaking the Dutchman again in the sixth game. Elsewhere Azarenka has broken back against Teichmann, and is back on serve at 2-3 in the first set.

Djokovic breaks again. The unforced error count is making a difference, Bedene’s eighth and ninth handing Djokovic a 15-30 lead, the second of which – an overhit smash – followed a rally that saw Djokovic manoeuvred all round the court. Bedene recovers to lead 40-30 but is outpointed all round the baseline by the Serb to peg it back to deuce. Bedene then does well to draw an error from Djokovic but an unanswerable return from the top seed gets us back to deuce. A sliced backhand into the net then hands Djokovic a break point, which he converts when Bedene nets a low forehand. Djokovic leads 6-3, 2-1.

Back on Philippe Chatrier, Djokovic has dropped only one point on his first serve and only two on his second as he romps through another service game against Bedene. It’s 1-1 in the second set.

Let’s have a scoot around the courts shall we? Nadal is 3-2 up against Van de Zandschulp and on serve again. And Victoria Azarenka, the 15th seed, is 0-3 down against the No 23 seed Jil Teichmann of Switzerland.

Key event

Djokovic wins first set against Bedene, 6-3. Fierce serving and hitting gives Bedene, serving to save the set at 2-5, a comfortable hold. That’s a fine response after being overwhelmed in the previous couple of games. Djokovic, serving for the first set, begins with a rare error on his backhand. He recovers to 40-15, a backhand winner to the back of the court setting up two set points. He takes the first of them when Bedene nets after being pushed further to the back of the court.

Bedene’s problem is he can’t lay a glove on Djokovic’s serve. The No 1 seed’s service games are lasting barely a couple of minutes, and he romps through another to lead 5-2.

Djokovic breaks. Bedene eases to 40-0 on his serve before his first double-fault induces nerves that prompt another weak serve, upon which Djokovic capitalises. He moves on to break point, and this time he converts it for a 4-2 lead in the first set. And Nadal has swiftly atoned for his poor first service game by breaking Van de Zandschulp to 15. 1-1.

Novak Djokovic flings a forehand in the direction of Aljaz Bedene.
Novak Djokovic flings a forehand in the direction of Aljaz Bedene. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

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Rafa Nadal, injury-plagued lord of Paris, is also under way, against Botic Van De Zandschulp of the Netherlands – and his serve is broken in the very first game! And Felix Auger-Aliassime has won the first set against Filip Krajinovic, taking the tiebreak 7-3. And in the time it took me to write that, Djokovic has romped through his third service game with ease.

Bedene is competing hard here, and this is a fine hold. Djokovic settles an absorbing rally with an inch-perfect lob of Bedene at the net. The Slovenian’s unforced error then puts him 0-30 down before Djokovic earns himself three break points with an angled backhand winner to the corner. Fiercely accurate serves from Bedene save two of them and the third is saved after Djokovic miscues from the back of the court and hits long. But Bedene is moved all round the court on the following point and eventually succumbs, yielding another break point, which is also saved with the most delicious and audacious of spinning dropshot volleys. Even Djoko smiles in recognition. He then closes it out with a brutal ace. Djokovic is in a match here. 2-2.

Brit news: and it’s not heartening – in the women’s doubles Heather Watson and Samantha Murray Sharan have lost their first set against Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine and Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-2.

Djokovic meanwhile rattles through his service game in the blink of an eye to lead 2-1.

Another seed falls in the women’s draw, Angelique Kerber, seeded 21, going out in straight sets to Aliaksandra Sasnovich 4-6, 6-7. Djokovic meanwhile takes Bedene to deuce on the Slovenian’s first service game with a rasping forehand winner from the back of the court. Bedene then sends a backhand wide to hand the Serb a break point, which Bedene saves with a canny drop shot. He wins the next point too with a cute drop-volley that kisses the line and goes on to claim a morale-boosting first hold. 1-1.

Thanks Niall. There’s a big crowd in on Chatrier to watch Djokovic, whose first serves are a little awry but they don’t derail him from a comfortable hold to 15, Bedene testing him in a couple of booming baseline rallies but no more. 1-0, first set.

Novak Djokovic is warming up, about to begin his match with Aljaz Bedene on Chatrier. Time to hand over to Tom Davies, who will guide you through the opening stages.

Gauff beats Kanepi 6-3, 6-4!

Coco Gauff holds to love, completing a comfortable victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. She’ll likely play Elise Mertens in the last 16; the Belgian is a set and break up in her third-round match.

So, what else is happening? Well, Felix Auger-Aliassime is on Court 14, up against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic – it’s 3-3 in the opening set.

On Lenglen, Kanepi had fought back in the second set – but an unforced error at the net hands Gauff another break; she leads 6-3, 4-3.

Fernandez conducts her on-court interview in French – she says reaching the second week is “a dream”, and is happy to come through that battle with Bencic. She’s now planning some downtime with her family – to make up for putting them through a rollercoaster today.

Leylah Fernandez celebrates her win.
Leylah Fernandez celebrates her win. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

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Fernandez beats Bencic 7-5, 3-6, 7-5!

Bencic misses the chance to apply pressure, missing two gettable returns. 30-0 Fernandez – and three match points as she fires an ace into the corner. On the first, a low slice catches Bencic out – and that’s that. That was an excellent game, full of twists and turns – and Laylah Fernandez has won it.

Just as Bencic looks to have regained the psychological edge, Fernandez comes out swinging. She dominates the Bencic serve and breaks again – now, another chance to serve for the match ...

Not so fast – Fernandez feels the nerves, her first serve wobbling, and Bencic has a break point. She gets behind the second serve, and her opponent nets a running forehand. We’re back at 5-5!

Fernandez holds serve, helped by a couple of Bencic errors – and she’s now one game away from victory. Bencic digs deep, some nicely constructed points and a closing ace to hold – but her opponent will serve for the match ...

Martina Trevisan has seen off the challenge of Daria Saville, the world No 59 winning 6-3, 6-4. She will face Kerber or Sasnovich in the fourth round.

Martina Trevisan moves on to the last 16.
Martina Trevisan moves on to the last 16. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Coco Gauff is motoring towards victory, picking up an early break in the second after taking the first set 6-3. Elsewhere, Aliaksandra Sasnovich has taken the first set against Angelique Kerber, while Elise Mertens has done the same against Varvara Gracheva on Court 7.

This is such a tight battle – one minute Bencic appears to have the upper hand, then Fernandez muscles her way back in. Having fended off break points at 3-2 down, the Canadian has three of her own – the first two are saved with ferocious winners, but Bencic double-faults at the worst possible moment. Fernandez has the break!

Coco Gauff has made a flying start, breaking to lead Kaia Kanepi 4-1 in the opening set. Kanepi is 35 and has been playing on the WTA Tour since 2004 – the year Gauff was born.

Coco Gauff in action on Suzanne-Lenglen.
Coco Gauff in action on Suzanne-Lenglen. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Bencic gets ahead in the third set, breaking Fernandez straight away – but her opponent battles back in typically tenacious fashion, a rangy forehand winner earning the break back. This one could go the distance.

Three more women’s third-round matches are getting under way: Coco Gauff v Kaia Kanepi, Angelique Kerber v Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Varvara Gracheva v Elise Mertens. On Court 14, Trevisan leads the second set 4-2 and is closing in on a last-16 place.

Bencic wins the second set 6-3! We’re all square on Chatrier, Belinda Bencic breaking again with a tidy winner down the line. That angry exchange with the umpire seemed to shift the momentum in that second set, with Bencic finding a greater focus and intensity than her opponent.

Schwartzman beats Dimitrov 6-3, 6-1, 6-2! Diego Schwartzman has wrapped up victory and moves on to the last 16, where he will probably face Novak Djokovic.

Diego Schwartzman celebrates victory.
Diego Schwartzman celebrates victory. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares make an early exit from the men’s doubles, losing 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-3 to US pair Mackenzie Mcdonald and Tommy Paul. There’s another women’s singles match in progress out on Court 14 – Italy’s in-form Martina Trevisan has taken the first set 6-3 against Australia’s Daria Saville.

Bencic fights off break points to move 3-1 up in the second set; by the way, the winner of this match will play Anisimova in the last 16. With so many of the top women’s seeds out already, Bencic is actually the highest-ranked player left on her side of the draw. The No 1 seed, Iga Swiatek, is already odds-on to win the tournament.

At 1-1, Bencic is given a warning for taking too long between points. She’s not happy about it at all, engaging the umpire in a prolonged exchange of views. Sometimes that’s all you need – she promptly breaks Fernandez to take an edge in the second set.

Muchova retires! It has looked inevitable and after losing serve to go 3-0 down in the third set, Karolina Muchova has to retire. She’s clearly devastated – I think she would likely have won, were it not for that ankle injury. Anisimova goes through, offering her opponent a consoling hug at the net.

Amanda Anisimova consoles Karolina Muchova after she was forced to retire in the third set.
Amanda Anisimova consoles Karolina Muchova after she was forced to retire in the third set. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares took the second set against Macdonald and Paul, but are in trouble in the decider, trailing 4-1. Back on Lenglen, Anisimova has claimed the second set 6-2, and now leads by a break in the third against her visibly injured opponent.

Leylah Fernandez is a set up on Bencic; this is the first time I’ve really watched her since the US Open final. Losing to Emma Raducanu must have hurt after such a dramatic run to the final, but maybe losing that game could help in the long run – she doesn’t seem to be under the spotlight to the same extent as Raducanu. But readers in North America might correct me on that.

Muchova is still struggling and Anisimova moves a double break up in the second set, leading 5-2 but still struggling to find any consistency.

Grigor Dimitrov is two sets down to Diego Schwartzman, but broke early in the third to lead 2-0. Can you guess what happened next? That’s right – Schwartzman broke back twice, and now leads 4-2.

Muchova surrenders her serve, not able to put weight on her ankle, and then gets some further strapping applied. In the next game, things look a little better – she’s still moving awkwardly but finds a couple of clean winners. Anisimova holds in the end, to lead 4-2. How much longer can Muchova carry on?

Leylah Fernandez wins the first set 7-5! Bencic has missed set points and with the tie-break looming, comes under pressure from Fernandez, who dials up the intensity to force a set point – and she converts when Bencic sends a looping slice beyond the baseline!

Eyes on the ball: Leylah Fernandez takes the first set.
Eyes on the ball: Leylah Fernandez takes the first set. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

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Too many unforced errors from Fernandez, and Bencic breaks again before serving for the set. She earns set points but can’t convert them – one half-chance at a passing shot down the line landing just wide. Fernandez breaks back, and it’s now 5-5 in the first set.

Muchova breaks back in the second set, but is then forced to take another medical timeout after slipping while chasing a shot, and turning her ankle. That looked nasty, and she’s visibly upset as the trainer straps up her right foot; the existing thigh injury is on her left leg. It may be a struggle for her to continue.

Karolina Muchova winces after injuring her right ankle.
Karolina Muchova winces after injuring her right ankle. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

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Schwartzman has taken control of his match with Dimitrov, racing through the second set to lead 6-3, 6-1. Elsewhere, Salisbury and Ram have won their doubles match against Kecmanovic and Monroe 6-3, 7-6 (5).

The top seeds in the men’s doubles, Joe Salisbury (left) and Rajeev Ram, in action.
The top seeds in the men’s doubles, Joe Salisbury (left) and Rajeev Ram, in action. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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A shift in momentum as Bencic breaks back, then puts Fernandez under real pressure in the seventh game – but the Canadian holds steady to lead 4-3, the first set back on serve.

On Suzanne-Lenglen, Muchova takes a medical timeout to have a troublesome thigh strain strapped. Anisimova breaks to open the second set and Muchova decides the strapping isn’t helping, promptly ripping it off at the changeover.

On Suzanne-Lenglen, nobody appears willing or able to win this first set. Muchova missed a set point as Anisimova broke back, and the American then raced 5-0 up in the breaker. Then came a quadruple-fault, if you will, another missed set point from Muchova.

Now Anisimova has a set point, but mishits a volley – and Muchova does claim the set when her opponent sends a drop shot wide! The Czech leads 1-0 after an 80-minute first set, with neither player enjoying it much.

Amanda Anisimova wins a marathon first set.
Amanda Anisimova has lost a marathon first set. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

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It’s been a strong start from Fernandez, who is moving and striking the ball well; she’s got an early break and leads Bencic 3-1. Elsewhere, Diego Schwartzman has wrapped up the first set against Dimitrov despite some wobbles on serve.

Cam Norrie is the last Briton standing in the singles draws, but there is plenty of UK interest in the men’s doubles. Joe Salisbury and his American partner Raveej Ram are the top seeds, and currently lead their second-round match against Miomir Kecmanovic and Nicholas Monroe 6-3, 4-4.

It’s not going so well for Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who have just lost the first set in a tiebreak to US pair Mackenzie Mcdonald and Tommy Paul. Neal Skupski is in mixed dubs action later, alongside another American, Desirae Krawczyk.

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Bencic and Fernandez are warming up on Chatrier, after a chat with the impossibly youthful umpire, Manuel Absolu. He’s 31, but has been a grand slam umpire for nine years – so certainly not an Absolu beginner. Anyway, let’s move on.

Muchova saved a set-point on serve against Anisimova, and has now broken her American opponent to lead 6-5. Schwartzman still has a break advantage over Dimitrov, leading 4-3 in the opening set.

Last night, Stefanos Tsitsipas made it through to the third round after another tough battle – this time with the Czech qualifier Zdenek Kolak, who had set points to force a decider before Tsitsipas found a run on form to win the fourth-set tie-break.

“He drove me crazy. It was really frustrating,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “He was putting every part of his body behind the ball. I’d like to congratulate him for this effort.”

In the late match on Chatrier, home favourite Alize Cornet defeated the former champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 1-6, 6-3. She’ll play China’s Zheng Qinwen, victor over Simona Halep, in the next round.

Stefanos Tsitsipas was made to work hard again after fighting back from two sets down in the first round.
Stefanos Tsitsipas was made to work hard again after fighting back from two sets down in the first round. Photograph: Shi Tang/Getty Images

It’s a big weekend for sport in Paris, and you can join Dave Tindall for all the Champions League final buildup here ...

The first match on Court Philippe-Chatrier doesn’t start for another half-hour or so, but we are under way elsewhere. On Suzanne-Lenglen, Amanda Anisimova and Karolina Muchova are level at 2-2 and on serve. On Simonne-Mathieu, Diego Schwartzman has an early break on Grigor Dimitrov.

Friday's order of play

Philippe-Chatrier (from 11am BST)
(14) Belinda Bencic v Leylah Fernandez (17)
(1) Novak Djokovic v Aljaz Bedene
Sloane Stephens v Diane Parry
(27) Sebastian Korda v Carlos Alcaraz (6)*
*not before 7.45pm BST

Suzanne-Lenglen (from 10am BST)
(27) Amanda Anisimova v Karolina Muchova
(18) Coco Gauff v Kaia Kanepi
(26) Botic Van De Zandschulp v Rafael Nadal (5)
(3) Alexander Zverev v Brandon Nakashima

Simonne-Mathieu (from 10am BST)
(18) Grigor Dimitrov v Diego Schwartzman (15)
(21) Angelique Kerber v Aliaksandra Sasnovich
(15) Victoria Azarenka v Jil Teichmann (23)
(10) Cameron Norrie v Karen Khachanov (21)

Court 7 (from 10am BST)
(10) J Murray & B Soares v M Mcdonald & T Paul
Varvara Gracheva v Elise Mertens (31)
(23) John Isner v Bernabe Zapata Miralles
(4) D Krawczyk & N Skupski v S Aoyama & H Nys

Court 14 (singles only)
Martina Trevisan v Daria Saville
(9) Felix Auger-Aliassime v Filip Krajinovic

Preamble

It’s the sixth day at Roland Garros and things are heating up, with the men’s and women’s singles draws reaching the third-round stage, where seeded players start eliminating one another and potential paths to glory become clearer.

Speaking of which, there can scarcely have ever been a grand-slam draw more stacked than the top half of the men’s tournament where Rafa Nadal, owner of 13 [thirteen!] French Open titles, is somehow only third-favourite to reach the final.

Botic Van De Zandschulp is the unfortunate soul tasked with trying to derail Nadal today. Defending champion Novak Djokovic faces Aljaz Bedene, while pretender to the throne Carlos Alcaraz will take on Sebastian Korda in the evening game.

Elsewhere around the courts, we’ll see Coco Gauff, Sascha Zverev, and Cam Norrie, plus more British interest in men’s doubles. First up on Chatrier, though: a potential belter between Belinda Bencic and the US Open runner-up, Leylah Fernandez. On y va!

Contributors

Niall McVeigh and Tom Davies (for a bit)

The GuardianTramp

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