Over the course of third-round action at Roland Garros, eight players will bid to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time. Elisabetta Cocciaretto, Olga Danilovic, Clara Tauson and Anastasia Potapova all successfully hit that career milestone on Friday.

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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.

Getting to know Elisabetta Cocciaretto (2021 interview)

“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!”

Cocciaretto’s next challenge is US Open champion and No.3 seed Coco Gauff.

[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.”

Danilovic is the first Serbian woman to reach the second week of a major since Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon 2015, and the first to do so at Roland Garros since Ana Ivanovic in the same year. She will next face Wimbledon champion and No.5 seed Marketa Vondrousova.

Clara Tauson def. Sofia Kenin 6-2, 7-5

For Denmark’s Tauson, a trip to her first Grand Slam Round of 16 seemed simply a matter of time. In the juniors, the Dane was a former World No.1 and Grand Slam champion. However, despite cracking the Top 40 and winning two WTA singles titles as a teenager, injuries have held back her pro career in the last couple years.

But it is all coming together in Paris this week, where she has beaten two Grand Slam champions in a row to make her first Grand Slam second-week showing as a pro. On Thursday, she used well-timed drop shots to topple 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in three sets.

On Friday, it was Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion and Roland Garros finalist, who fell to Tauson. World No.72 Tauson won 69 percent of her first-service points in the affair, while Kenin could only capture half of the points behind her own first delivery.

“It feels amazing, honestly,” Tauson said after her win over Kenin. “I was almost moved to tears when I won today. That’s never happened before.”

Tauson has now won three matches in a row for the first time at tour-level since her trip to the 2021 Courmayeur title. She will go for a fourth straight win when she takes on Ons Jabeur, the No.8 seed from Tunisia, in the Round of 16. It will be their first meeting.

“When I was 18, 19, I was doing really well, but then I got injured,” said Tauson. “You have to really grow into your body and your mental. I mean, I’m still learning, and I think I will keep learning. … I think I’m getting more comfortable with the way I’m playing and more determined in the way that I play, and I keep on playing like that and don’t try to play anybody else’s game than my own.”

Anastasia Potapova def. Wang Xinyu 7-5, 6-7(8), 6-4

After just 19 minutes of play, an erratic Anastasia Potapova found herself in a 4-0 hole against Wang Xinyu. The World No.41, who reached her career high of No.21 last June, had lost all three of her previous Grand Slam third-round appearances. A fourth defeat seemed on the cards.

Then the rain came. On resumption, the 23-year-old former junior No.1 was rejuvenated. She lost the first game back, but it was a four-deuce tussle, and her improved form set the tone for what was to follow: trailing 5-0, Potapova rattled off seven straight games, saving one set point serving down 5-3, to steal the set from Wang.

Thereafter, there was little to choose between the pair as they went toe-to-toe in high-octane baseline exchanges for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Potapova led 4-2 in the second set, but Wang gradually reeled her in before edging the tiebreak on her fourth set point. The Chinese player carried her momentum into the decider to lead 3-1, but this time it was Potapova who turned the set around. A knife-edge final game saw Wang save the first four match points against her, but a backhand error on the fifth sealed the milestone win for Potapova.

The fourth round will see Potapova reignite an old junior rivalry with World No.1 Iga Swiatek. The pair came up through the U12, U14 and junior levels together, and Potapova had the edge, winning their only official junior meeting 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the 2016 Roland Garros quarterfinals. They have not played since.

Source: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/4031305/danilovic-potapova-lead-first-timers-into-roland-garros-second-week

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