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Gauff leads teen charge at Roland Garros

American teenager Coco Gauff, the youngest woman left in the singles draw, moved into the third round of the French Open after beating Alison van Uytvanck.

The 18-year-old Gauff is trying to improve on her quarter-final run at Roland Garros last year – her best result at a major.

Gauff, who celebrated her high school graduation this week with pictures at the Eiffel Tower, beat the Belgian Van Uytvanck 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

The No.18 seed twice fell behind by two games in the second set but broke back both times. She then forced three errors from Van Uytvanck in the tiebreaker.

The 28-year-old Van Uytvanck’s best result at a Grand Slam tournament was reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2015.

There were mixed fortunes for the teenage contenders in Paris. Earlier, US Open champion Emma Raducanu was bundled out in the second round, losing 3-6 6-1 6-1 to inspired Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The 12th seeded British teenager, who had to dig deep in her opening match to come from a set down to beat Czech qualifier Linda Noskova, was surprised by world No.47 Sasnovich’s attacking power.

Sasnovich, 28, moves into the third round at Roland Garros for the first time on her seventh appearance.

The 28-year-old Sasnovich had also beaten Raducanu at Indian Wells last year in the Briton’s first match after winning the title at Flushing Meadows.

A third teenager, Leylah Fernandez, the No.17 seed and beaten by Raducanu in last year’s US Open final, reached the third round with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic.

Another obstacle on top seed Iga Swiatek’s path to a second French Open title was removed when fourth seed Maria Sakkari was knocked out 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) by Czech Karolina Muchova.

Sakkari, a semi-finalist in Paris last year, never found her groove on Court Suzanne Lenglen as her opponent, who reached the last four at the Australian Open in 2021, set up a meeting with American Amanda Anisimova.

The Greek is the latest casualty among the top seeds after Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur (No.6) and defending champion Barbora Krejcikova (No.2) were knocked out in the first round.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, reached the third round by beating Andrea Petkovic 6-1 7-6 (7-3).

The No.15 seed has twice won the Australian Open and was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2013.

Egypt’s Mayar Sherif pulled out on Wednesday with a foot fracture, a day after she became the first woman from her country to win a main draw match at Roland Garros when she beat Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.

Slovenia’s 24th seed, Tamara Zidansek, who was drawn to meet Sherif, will get a walkover into the third round

Czech player Marie Bouzkova has also withdrawn because she says she tested positive for COVID-19.

She is the first singles player to pull out of Roland Garros because of the coronavirus.

Bouzkova was supposed to face No. 31 seed Elise Mertens, who advanced to the third round.

With agencies

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