Alexander Zverev of Germany plays a backhand during his mens second round match against Roman Safiullin of Russia during day four of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on June 2 2021 in Paris, France. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ADAM PRETTY
Alexander Zverev of Germany plays a backhand during his mens second round match against Roman Safiullin of Russia during day four of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on June 2 2021 in Paris, France. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ADAM PRETTY

Paris — German sixth seed Alexander Zverev blew hot and cold with his serve but had enough artillery to take down Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin 7-6(4) 6-3 7-6(1) to reach the third round of the French Open on Wednesday.

The 182nd-ranked Russian went toe-to-toe with Zverev in the baseline battle in the opening set before the German got the crucial break in the 11th game. Serving for the set, Zverev committed two double-faults to give away the advantage and had another in the tie-breaker but recovered to take the lead with back-to-back aces.

Double faults continued to haunt the 24-year-old German in the second set as he smashed his racquet on the court in frustration and suffered a service break, but he recovered spectacularly to take the set by winning five games in a row.

Zverev, who served 15 aces against 10 double faults, outplayed Safiullin in the third-set tie-breaker to set up a clash against the winner of the match between Serbians Laslo Djere and Miomir Kecmanovic.

Victoria Azarenka advanced to the third round  after overcoming Danish teenager Clara Tauson with a 7-5 6-4 victory.

The Belarusian 15th seed, a former semi-finalist at Roland Garros, started strong when she broke Tauson in the opening game of the match but the Danish 18-year-old broke back to make it 2-2 in the first set.

However, Azarenka broke again to take a 6-5 lead before serving out the opening set. The pair then traded breaks twice in the second set, with both players making a number of unforced errors.

But the vastly experienced Azarenka, 31, had the crucial break of serve again at 4-4 to take the lead. She then held serve to clinch victory and book a third-round match with American 23rd seed Madison Keys. 

Reuters

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