Andreescu advances to 2nd round at French Open with win over Azarenka

Canada's Bianca Andreescu has advanced to the second round of the French Open with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over 18th-seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

No. 2 seed Medvedev shocked by 172nd-ranked qualifier in 1st round

A tennis player is seen playing a forehand mid-game against a clay court.
Bianca Andreescu plays a forehand during a a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Viktoria Azarenka in a first round at the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Tuesday. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Canada's Bianca Andreescu has advanced to the second round of the French Open with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over 18th-seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

Andreescu started to take control of the match after a poor first set, overpowering Azarenka with an aggressive pace and confident shotmaking.

The 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., went up with an early break in the third set to take a 2-1 lead, then fought off a break point for a crucial hold.

Azarenka did not go quietly, however. The Belarusian fought off four match points in the final game before hitting the net to end the match in two hours 30 minutes.

"I felt like I started to become very passive and she was just hitting winner after winner so I told myself that if I want to even have a close match I really have to put pressure and I started taking the ball earlier," Andreescu said after the match.

"My serve started to become a weapon and I think that really helped."

WATCH l : Andreescu battles back from first set loss to beat Azarenka:

Bianca Andreescu surprises at the French Open

4 months ago
Duration 3:24
Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., battled back from a first set loss, to beat Victoria Azarenka (2-6,6-2,6-4) in the first round of the French Open in Paris.

It was the first meeting between Andreescu, who entered the tournament ranked 42nd in the world, and Azarenka, a former No. 1 and a two-time Australian Open champion.

Andreescu will face American Emma Navarro in the second round of the clay-court Grand Slam.

After the players exchanged holds over the first four games, Azarenka won the next four in convincing fashion to take the first set.

Andreescu went on a similar run to take the second set. She tied the set at 3-3 with a break to start a four-game run that tied the match at a set apiece.

The victory snapped Andreescu's three-match losing streak that started with an injury retirement to Ekaterina Alexandrova in the fourth round of the Miami Open. Andreescu tore two ankle ligaments in the match and has struggled to return to form after weeks of rehab.

Andreescu became the first Canadian to win a major singles title when she captured the 2019 U.S. Open. She has not progressed past the second round at any of the other three Grand Slams.

Navarro, ranked 75th in the world, advanced to the second round with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win over Russia's Erika Andreeva in her French Open women's main draw debut.

Navarro advanced to the final of the 2019 French Open girl's final, where she lost to Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que.

Fernandez is scheduled to face Denmark's Clara Tauson in a second-round match on Wednesday. It's a rematch of the 2019 Australian Open junior final, which Tuason won in straight sets.

Also Wednesday, 26th-seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., is set to face Italy's Matteo Arnaldi in a men's second-round match.

Medvedev shocked by 172nd-ranked qualifier

Daniil Medvedev was seeded No. 2 at the French Open. Coming off a clay-court title a little more than a week ago, too. Plus, he already owns one Grand Slam trophy and was a finalist three other times.

And his opponent Tuesday in the first round at Roland Garros? Well, Thiago Seybolt Wild, a 23-year-old from Brazil, is ranked just 172nd and was playing only his second match in the main draw of any major tournament. He needed to win three matches in qualifying rounds last week just to make it into the men's bracket, something he'd failed to do on eight previous attempts at Slams.

Men's tennis player acknowledges the crowd in Paris following an upset victory at the French Open.
Playing only his second match in the main draw of any major tournament, 23-year-old Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild compiled a 69-45 edge in total winners, including 47-15 on the forehand side, in a five-set upset of No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev in first-round action at the French Open on Tuesday in Paris. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Sometimes, the numbers just don't matter. Nor does past experience. The winner of a tennis match tends to be whoever was better that day, no matter how surprising that might be.

Seybolt Wild looked very much like he belonged on Court Philippe Chatrier, hitting big forehands and keeping his nerve down the stretch to oust Medvedev 7-6 (5), 6-7 (8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

"I mean, I've watched Daniil play for like my entire junior career until today. I've always dreamed about playing on this court against these kinds of players. … It's a dream come true," Seybolt Wild said.

So what was his game plan going in?

"Walking on the court, I really just wanted to get the angles, try to get to the net as much as possible, try to use my forehand against his," Seybolt Wild explained. "It worked pretty well."

Did it ever.

Employing a high-risk, high-reward style, Seybolt Wild compiled a 69-45 edge in total winners, including 47-15 on the forehand side.

Signs of improvement on clay

Medvedev has been ranked No. 1 and won the U.S. Open two years ago, defeating Novak Djokovic to end a bid for the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men's tennis in more than a quarter-century.

Good as he's always been on hard courts, Medvedev never was known for his prowess on red clay — he began his French Open career with a 0-4 record. But he's been showing signs of improvement, reaching the quarterfinals in Paris in 2021 and the fourth round last year, and claiming a title on the surface in Rome this month.

He just could never quite get the upper hand against Seybolt Wild during a match that lasted four hours 15 minutes.

Medvedev, who was treated by a trainer for a nosebleed in the third set, didn't help himself by double-faulting a career-high 15 times.

This already had been a breakthrough trip to Paris for Seybolt Wild: He had won a total of just one match during his eight past participations in qualifying at majors, the only way for someone ranked as low as he is to try to get into the field.

Seybolt Wild hadn't even played a tour-level main-draw match at all in 2023, instead competing on the lower-level ATP Challenger Tour.

Jabeur bounces back while Ruud, Gauff advance

Ons Jabeur got a do-over on Court Philippe Chatrier at the French Open and won this time.

A year after her first-round exit, the No. 7 seed beat Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-1 Tuesday to help erase some bad memories for the Tunisian and answer questions about a recent calf injury.

Jabeur, a crowd favourite in Paris, expressed relief in not repeating last year's result, where she lost to Magda Linette of Poland.

"I was pretty stressed, I've got to say," Jabeur said. "The most important thing for me was to feel healthy and to move well on the court."

Now she can focus on trying to win her first major. She was runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year.

Jabeur has been battling injuries. She had knee surgery after the Australian Open, and was then sidelined by a calf injury. She retired injured against top-ranked Iga Swiatek in Stuttgart in late April and pulled out of the Madrid Open.

"It was a very difficult period for me after Stuttgart," Jabeur said on court, adding she's beginning to find her rhythm.

Jabeur struck 27 winners to Bronzetti's seven, though with 24 unforced errors she has room to improve.

In other Tuesday matches:

  • 2021 champion Barbora Krejcikova lost her opening match at the French Open for the second straight year. The 13th-seeded Czech exited the tournament after losing to Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-2, 6-4.
  • At 16 years old, qualifier Mirra Andreeva of Russia had a memorable Grand Slam debut by dominating Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2, 6-1.
  • No. 6 seed Coco Gauff stumbled early but got past Rebeka Masarova 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round.
  • Later, Swiatek was to get her title defence started against Cristina Bucsa, who was ranked 70th.

On the men's side, No. 4 seed Casper Ruud beat qualifier Elias Ymer 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, to remind the higher-profile tournament favorites that he was runner-up to Nadal last year at Roland Garros.

With files from The Associated Press

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