Over Friday and Saturday at Roland Garros, eight players will bid to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time. Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Olga Danilovic were the first to successfully hit that career milestone.

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Elisabetta Cocciaretto def. [17] Lyudmila Samsonova 7-6(4), 6-2

First up and first through was the No.51-ranked Italian, Elisabetta Cocciaretto. Roland Garros is becoming something of a milestone tournament for the 23-year-old. Last year, she scored her first Top 10 win here, upsetting Petra Kvitova to make the third round of a major for the first time.

Twelve months on, Cocciaretto — who won her first Hologic WTA Tour title in Lausanne last July — has gone one better (at least). She’s upset two seeds, No.13 Beatriz Haddad Maia in a top-quality first round and now Samsonova. All three of her career Top 20 wins have taken place at Roland Garros.

“I love the courts here,” she said. “It reminds me a lot of the courts where I was born. Also I have very good memories of when I was a kid, watching on TV all the Italian players that were playing Roland Garros. Italians, we were born on clay. For us, it’s not comfort zone but our surface.”

Cocciaretto had to navigate some tough moments against the up-and-down big hitting of Samsonova. Leading 4-0 in the first set, Cocciaretto found herself trailing 6-5 and two points from losing it after her opponent hit a purple patch of form. Afterward in the on-court interview, she revealed how she had held on to the set.

“I told myself, play with your heart, not with your brain!”

[Q] Olga Danilovic def. Donna Vekic 0-6, 7-5, 7-6[8]

Olga Danilovic only completed her three-set upset of No.11 seed Danielle Collins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening. Scheduled first up at 11 a.m. on Friday morning, it perhaps wasn’t surprising that she came out flat. But after a first-set whitewash, Danilovic showed remarkable resilience to turn the match into a memorable 3-hour, 8-minute white-knuckle ride out on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

Photos: All of 2024’s three-hour matches

In particular, the third set was a riveting display as momentum swung incrementally back and forth. Vekic led 3-1, but Danilovic saved three points to go down a double break. The World No.125 then came up with spectacular love break comprising four clean winners, then saved a further six break points to inch ahead 4-3. It was then Vekic’s turn to fend off two break points that would have put her down 5-3.

Vekic served for the match twice, at 5-4 and 6-5 — holding a 30-0 lead the second time — and then led 6-2 in the ensuing super-tiebreak. But throughout the set, Danilovic had made the bolder plays and come up with more winners, 29 to Vekic’s 15 in the decider. Her greater willingness to take risks — and a few ill-timed double faults from Vekic — made the difference, as perfectly encapsulated by the screaming forehand winner down the line with which Danilovic converted her first match point.

“I practise for these kind of moments,” said a tearful Danilovic in the on-court interview. “When they come, I really want to take the best out of them and to enjoy being here. And to enjoy to suffer as well. In tennis, at the end, sometimes you really need to suffer, like I did today.”

Source: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/4031305/danilovic-cocciaretto-make-slam-second-week-debuts-at-roland-garros

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