French Open day two: Swiatek, Konta, Medvedev and Federer in action – live!
May 31, 2021sports
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Great stuff from Kaia Kanepi, who’s come back from a double-break down to take the first set against Vondrousova, the number 20 seed, 6-4.
Hello! Herbert is into this now, and skids into the net to lap a lush backhand drop along the net for his first break of the match! Sinner is under a bit of pressure, so it’ll be good to see how he responds. Meanwhile, Bertens tosses a break point and remonstrates with her racket in the strongest terms. That’ll teach it.
Bertens is a in a bind, following her break with a drop; Hercog takes the first set 6-1. Elsewhere, Tiafoe is up 4-3 on Johnson with a break, Vondrousova has lost her other break and trails Kanepi 4-5, while Isner and Querrey are 5-5.
Ah man, Sinner is a joke. Finding himself 30-40 down, he hammers down a belting second serve then plays two more tremendous points and that’s got be soul-crushing for Herbert.
At 0-5 down to Hercog, Bertens earns a break point, and though the set is almost definitely gone she’ll want to assert herself prior to the next one … and she does, a gorgeous backhand slice from well behind the line making it 1-5.
Wow, Sinner has broken again to take the first set 6-1, and is steaming hot. As if by magic, Calvin returns to qualify his Tsitsipas prediction: “Or Sinner. He’s [redacted] phenomenal. And a killer.”
Sinner is now 5-1 in front and purring. Meantime, Calvin Betton, a tennis coach mate of mine reckons Tsitsipas will be the next new major-winner, Tiafoe won’t get there and Auger Aliassime is a worry because though he was a brilliant junior, he’s not improved over the last few years. “His second serve is a major problem,” he says. “He got a golden opportunity that tennis players don’t get, coz of covid: to spend three months working on a specific area of his game with no competition or scrutiny. And it’s no better than it was before.”
When I watch Sinner – and Auger Aliassime and Tiafoe – and Tsitsipas and Medvedev – I wonder when they’ll be allowed to win a Slam. It’s impossible to look further than Nadal and Djokovic here, then Djokovic and Federer at Wimbledon. The first group aren[t quite ready but the second pair really are – and yet.
Vondrousova, who got to the final in 2019 as a teenager, was up a double break against the veteran Kanepi; Kanepi has retrieved one so is 1-3 down, while Hercog is 3-0 up on Bertens and serving.
Sinner is going to be an absolute superstar; he’s just such a natural, and after consolidating his break we see him dash to the net and flip over a winner; at 30-all, Herbert is under pressure again. But Herbert keeps the head and wins two quick points to get on the board, 1-2 and a break down.
Sinner has started well, breaking Herbert in the first game; Hercog has done likewise to Bertens, the number 15 seed.
FYI: for now, I’m watching Bertens v Hercog, Kanepi v Vondrousova and Sinner v Herbert. But I may check Johnson v Tiafoe.
Chatrier, from 11am BST
Juvan v Swiatek 
Bublik v Medvedev 
Istomin [Q] v Federer  (not before 4pm local)
Williams S  v Begu [not before 9pm local)
Sinner  v Herbert
Siegemund v Garcia
Kenin  v Ostapenko
Tsonga v Nishioka
Cornet v Tang
Ruud  v Paire
Cilic v Rinderknech
Muguruza  v Kostyuk
Morning all! What a day we’ve got for you today! Our show courts kick off with Iga Swiatek, who opens her title defence against Kaja Juvan – and with Jannik Sinner, the brilliant teenager who made the quarters last term, against the canny veteran Pierre-Hugues Herbert. When they’re done, we’ve got a bit of Daniil Medvedev, and later in the afternoon, there’ll be some Roger Federer, along with a frankly ridiculous matchup between last year’s defeated finalist, Sofia Kenin, and Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 champions. Add to that a a bunch of Muguruza, Cilic, Tiafoe, Mertens, Bencic, Konta, Norrie and Heather Watson – plus Roland Garros’ first-ever night session, featuring Serena Williams – and away we go!
Play: 11am local, 10am BST