Djokovic, Nadal, Federer eye French Open last 16 as Svitolina joins exodus

By: AFP      Published: 06:07 PM, 5 Jun, 2021
Djokovic, Nadal, Federer eye French Open last 16 as Svitolina joins exodus

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer target the French Open last 16 on Saturday but Elina Svitolina crashed out, leaving just three of the women's top 10 seeds left in the tournament.

World number one Djokovic, the champion in Paris in 2016 and chasing a 19th Grand Slam title, faces 93rd-ranked Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania.

Djokovic, bidding to be the first man in more than half a century to win all four majors on multiple occasions, can reach the last 16 for a 12th consecutive year.

If the Serb wins, he will tackle 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti after the 76th-ranked Italian reached the last 16 on his Grand Slam debut.

Musetti fired 50 winners past compatriot Marco Cecchinato in a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.

Nadal, seeded three this year and chasing a 14th French Open and record 21st Grand Slam, faces fellow left-hander Cameron Norrie.

The 25-year-old Norrie, ranked 40, is enjoying a breakout season on clay, reaching the finals in Estoril and Lyon.

He has played Nadal twice already this season, losing at the Australian Open and Barcelona on clay where the Spaniard won in straight sets for the loss of just five games.

"I've learned that he's actually a human being," said Norrie.

"But it can be absolute carnage going into his forehand."

Federer, locked on 20 majors with Nadal, is aiming to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the 68th time.

The 39-year-old Swiss, who won his only French Open title in 2009, tackles Germany's 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer in the evening session.

Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic reached the last 16 for the second successive year with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over three-time quarter-finalist Svitolina.

World number 33 Krejcikova goes on to face former US Open champion Sloane Stephens for a place in the quarter-finals.

"I am super happy, most of my shots were amazing," said the Czech.

Stephens, the 2018 runner-up in Paris, defeated Czech 18th seed Karolina Muchova 6-3, 7-5.

"Obviously one of my favourite tournaments of the year, so peaking here has always been really important," said Stephens after making the last 16 for the seventh time.

Fourth seed Sofia Kenin and eighth-seeded defending champion Iga Swiatek look to make the fourth round later Saturday.

Serena Williams, seeded seventh, plays her last 16 match on Sunday.

Only four of the top 10 women seeds made the third round this year, the fewest in 20 years.

Swiatek perfect 

Swiatek has made the third round for the loss of just seven games.

The Pole has not dropped a set at the tournament since her fourth round run in 2019 when she lost to 2018 champion Simona Halep.

On Saturday, the eighth seed takes on Estonia's 30th-seeded Anett Kontaveit who dropped just two games in her quickfire defeat of last home player Kristina Mladenovic in the second round.

Kontaveit is bidding to reach the last 16 for the second time.

There are two all-American ties on Saturday.

Kenin, the highest-seeded player left in the event after the exits of Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka, faces Jessica Pegula.

Coco Gauff, seeded 24, faces 13th-seeded Jennifer Brady who was a shock finalist at the Australian Open this year.

Seventeen-year-old Gauff is the youngest player in the last 32 since 16-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito in 2009.