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PARIS: World number two Daniil Medvedev and 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas target the French Open last 16 on Saturday while untroubled women’s top seed Iga Swiatek eyes a 31st successive win.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas are seeded to meet in the semi-finals.

So far, Medvedev has looked the most likely to reach that stage, dropping just 16 games in two straight-sets wins.

Fourth-ranked Tsitsipas, however, had to come back from two sets down to beat Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti in the first round.

Then he needed four hours to see off 134th-ranked qualifier Zdenek Kolar, saving set points in the fourth set tiebreaker.

Medvedev, a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros last year after four successive first round exits, takes on 28th seed Miomir Kecmanovic.

The 22-year-old Serb has had a solid clay season with a semi-final run in Munich and a quarter-final spot in Belgrade where he took Novak Djokovic to three sets. He also made the last eight in Rio and Santiago.

Kecmanovic started the year at 69 in the world and his all-court game saw him also enjoy quarter-final runs at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters.

Playing in Paris on a career-high ranking of 31, Kecmanovic is in the last 32 at Roland Garros for the first time.

“Medvedev is playing good, but of course it’s not his favourite surface, he doesn’t feel the most comfortable here,” said Kecmanovic.

“So if I want to play him I think it’s definitely better to play him on clay than somewhere else.”

Tsitsipas faces unseeded Mikael Ymer of Sweden, the world number 95 who arrived at the tournament on a seven-match losing streak, stretching back to a semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev in Montpellier in February.

However, Ymer has rediscovered his form in Paris, reaching the third round for a second successive season.

The third round also throws up two battles of tennis past and tennis future.

Holger Rune, just 19, faces 21-year-old Hugo Gaston. In stark contrast, 37-year-old Gilles Simon of France, playing on the tour for the final year, faces former US Open champion Marin Cilic, 33.

Now ranked 158, Simon, a former sixth-ranked player, has made the fourth round on three occasions having made his debut in 2005.

He enjoys a career edge of 6-1 over 23rd-ranked Cilic with their first meeting having taken place at Wimbledon in 2007.

Women’s world number one Swiatek, bidding for a second French Open title after her 2020 triumph, has put together a 30-match winning run and has dropped just four games in two rounds so far.

The 20-year-old Pole faces 95th-ranked Danka Kovinic who made the Australian Open third round in January, defeating US Open champion Emma Raducanu on the way.

French wildcard Leolia Jeanjean, the 227th-ranked wildcard who knocked out former world number one Karolina Pliskova in the second round, faces experienced Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.

Third seeded Paula Badosa, who made the quarter-finals in 2021, is up against Russian 29th seed Veronika Kudermetova.

Badosa has won both the pair’s meetings this year, including on the Madrid clay for the loss of just three games.


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