Sofia Kenin takes a while to win, Novak Djokovic cruises into third round

PARIS — Once Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin got going, she kept going — right into the third round of the French Open.

Sofia Kenin holding a racket: Sofia Kenin was pumped after defeating Ana Bogdan in three sets at the French Open.

© Alessandra Tarantino
Sofia Kenin was pumped after defeating Ana Bogdan in three sets at the French Open.

The fourth-seeded American started slowly Thursday under a closed roof on Court Philippe Chatrier before pulling out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Ana Bogdan.

“I knew I had to fight. She was playing well,” Kenin said. “First set just didn’t go my way. I couldn’t find my rhythm. I knew I needed to somehow change my game or else I’m going to be out. Did not want that, definitely.”

She also nearly stumbled at the end, too.

Kenin held three match points with Bogdan serving at 5-1 but failed to convert them all. In the next game, Kenin had to save three break points before finally winning on her fourth match point.

“I was getting a bit down on myself,” Kenin said. “But I guess it helped today.”

It was far easier for top-ranked Novak Djokovic when he followed Kenin on Chatrier. With the roof open and sunshine bathing the tournament’s biggest stadium after days of miserable weather, Djokovic routed Ricardas Berankis, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

“I had less drop shots than the first match but I served very well today,” Djokovic said in French moments after his victory. “It’s really lovely to see fans after two or three months without fans.”

The unexpected sunshine seemed to bother him a little, so Djokovic’s team gave him a hat he could wear while sitting on the side of the court.

Djokovic is going for a second title at Roland Garros after winning in 2016, and for an 18th Grand Slam overall to move two behind Roger Federer’s men’s record. Djokovic has dropped only 10 games so far and next faces lucky loser Daniel Elahi Galan.

While Djokovic has won 81 career titles, the 153rd-ranked Colombian has never won one and this will be his first appearance in the third round of any major tournament.

Same goes for Roberto Carballes Baena.

He advanced by beating ninth-seeded Denis Shapovalov, 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6, in a match lasting five hours.

Shapovalov committed 106 unforced errors in the match, compared to 42 for Carballes Baena, and twice served for the match. The Canadian also had more winners than Carballes Baena, 65-31.

Carballes Baena sank to his knees after Shapovalov hit a forehand long and let out a loud shout of delight.

“It is a dream for me to win a match like this on this court. I tried to be very solid and focus on my game,” the Spaniard said. “He’s very aggressive but I think I did a very good match.”

Carballes Baena will next play 18th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who has never reached the fourth round at Roland Garros.

The 21-year-old Kenin, meanwhile, will next play qualifier Irina Bara and another victory will equal her best performance at Roland Garros. She reached the fourth round last year in her second appearance at the tournament.

Earlier, former champion Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the third round when she beat second-seeded Karolina Pliskova, 6-4, 6-2.

Even though there were late-morning blue skies for their match, the roof stayed closed over the main court.

Ostapenko won her only major title in 2017 at Roland Garros. The unseeded Latvian will next face Spanish player Paula Badosa, who beat former runner-up Sloane Stephens, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. It was Stephens’s earliest exit at Roland Garros since a first-round defeat on her debut in 2011.

In other women’s matches, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat Jasmine Paolini, 6-3, 6-3. The seventh-seeded Kvitova reached the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2012.

Also, No. 8 Aryna Sabalenka beat Daria Kasatkina, 7-6 (8-6), 6-0, but Danish teen Clara Tauson’s surprise Roland Garros run ended when she lost to unseeded American Danielle Collins, 6-2, 6-3.

Other than former Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, the 17-year-old Tauson was the first Danish woman in the second round of any major tournament since 1989.

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