French Open: Novak Djokovic makes safe passage into third round

Smiling the key for Carlos Alcaraz after win over Taro Daniel

French Open favourite Novak Djokovic secured victory in his second-round match against Hungarian player Márton Fucsovics after he followed up winning a gruelling first set of almost 90 minutes with a 6-0 win in the second, before closing out the match 6-3.

Earlier, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Wednesday that Djokovic’s statement at the French Open that “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” did not violate any rules because the Grand Slam rule book does not ban political statements.

The world number three wrote the message on a camera lens after his first-round victory on Monday, the same day that 30 Nato peacekeeping troops were hurt in clashes with Serb protesters in the Kosovo town of Zvecan – where Djokovic’s father grew up.

A lost set was not enough to take the smile off Carlos Alcaraz’s face as he defeated Taro Daniel to move through to the third round at Roland Garros.


Taking on the Japanese player on a breezy Philippe Chatrier, world number one Alcaraz won the first set easily only for his opponent to fight back at the start of the second.

It proved only a temporary blip, though, as the young Spaniard dominated the final two sets in a 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-2 triumph.

“I’m really happy with the level that I played today,” said Alcaraz. “I overcame the problems in the match because of the wind and it has been a really complete match from my side, and I’m really happy with that.”

Alcaraz’s positive attitude and sunny disposition has made him not just popular with his rivals but also made some of them rethink their own approach, with Stefanos Tsitsipas thanking the Spaniard during a practice session.

“I’m winning all the time because I am smiling,” said Alcaraz, who next faces Denis Shapovalov. “And I always said that smiling for me is the key of everything.

“I enjoy being in this kind of stadium, these kind of tournaments, cities. That’s the most important thing for me to enjoy, and that’s why I smile all the time.”

Tsitsipas joined Alcaraz in the third round with a 6-3 7-6 (4) 6-2 victory over Roberto Carballes Baena but former champion Stan Wawrinka lost out in the match of the day, going down in five sets to Thanasi Kokkinakis.

The Australian would have felt that was justice after his epic defeat by Andy Murray at his home grand slam in January.

“It definitely feels better when you come out on the winning end of those,” said Kokkinakis.

“I had a heartbreaker against Andy earlier in the year and not many moral victories. It was a tough one to take. You can’t count these guys out no matter how old they are. They get better and better, and you can see why they are multiple grand slam champions.

“Stan is a legend. Still is, obviously, but he was a legend out on court today. He was very nice, very respectful. Hats off to him. The crowd was going nuts for him, but it’s a fun atmosphere. I love playing against that, so it was awesome.”

Umpiring controversy

Cameron Norrie called for video replays to be used in tennis after another umpiring controversy in his second-round victory over Lucas Pouille at the French Open.

The British number one was fuming at being given a hindrance penalty for shouting out during his five-set win over Benoit Paire on Monday, with Norrie insisting he had merely grunted.

He came out on the right side of things back on Suzanne Lenglen against another Frenchman, with umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore failing to spot a double bounce at a key moment in the third set of Norrie’s 6-1 6-3 6-3 victory.

TV replays showed Pouille, who lost three games in a row to trail 5-1 after the incident, was right to complain, and both men believe umpires should have the benefit of reviewing their decision at such moments.

“I think that would be great,” said Norrie. “There’s been so many different situations over my career where there’s been things happening, and I think we definitely can use it to our advantage. We have the technology to do it. I don’t know why we’re not doing it in all aspects.

“We all make mistakes. The umpires make mistakes. It was a tough call in the moment. From the replay, for me, it looks like she got it wrong.”

Players often know whether they have reached the ball or not but Norrie insisted he did not in the moment and Pouille had no complaints with his opponent.

“You have no obligation,” said the Frenchman. “You do whatever you want. When you run to the ball and you hit it, sometimes you don’t know if it bounced twice or not. I was pretty sure it did.

“I think today we have so many options to check if it bounced twice or not. It’s easy with the video.”

The incident led to more booing for Norrie at the time and at the end of the match, but the 14th seed was relieved to have kept the crowd much quieter than in his rollercoaster clash with Paire.

Norrie may feel tempted to take to the stage in the off-season given the practice he has now had at being a pantomime villain.

Booed on to court, the partisan home crowd lightheartedly jeered his shots during the warm-up while cheering those of Pouille.

“It’s a great atmosphere,” said Norrie. “It’s the matches you want to be playing. It’s really tough with the crowd chanting and definitely getting behind and changing the momentum of the match. They’re a tough crowd but I enjoy it.

“Obviously I’d prefer with it being on my side but it’s going to happen that way. It just so happened that I played two guys from France back-to-back. It was definitely a bit more low stress today and I was able to keep them pretty hushed for the majority of the match.

“I was really pleased with my performance and there was a lot of good changes that I made in my level today, so I was really happy with it.”