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French Open: Denis Shapovalov Loses to Roberto Carballes Baena after Marathon Clash

Denis Shapovalov (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Denis Shapovalov (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Denis Shapovalov defeated Roberto Carballes Baena 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 in the French Open.

After Jelena Ostapenko eliminated No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova at the French Open on Thursday, the conversation quickly turned to 2017.

Which made sense, of course, because that was when Ostapenko surprisingly won the championship at Roland Garros and the last year she even won so much as one match at the clay-court tournament, let alone two, the way she has this week.

Of course its in my memory, because its the biggest win of my career so far, but I have to move forward. And just, like, the world doesnt stop with winning only one Grand Slam. Of course I want to achieve more and I want to be back in top 5, top 10, Ostapenko said after beating Pliskova 6-4, 6-2 with the help of a 27-9 edge in total winners.

Step by step. Thats what Im working on: my consistency, Ostapenko said. Still being an aggressive player I think it can bring me a lot of wins but consistency, probably, in my game is the key.

Her next opponent is 87th-ranked Paula Badosa, who showed up this week with a 1-5 career record in Grand Slam matches but is into the third round at a major for the first time thanks to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over 2017 U.S. Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens.

Ostapenko has been as high as No. 5 and is currently No. 43. Thats not very different from where she was three years ago in Paris, ranked 47th and just two days past her 20th birthday when she became an impossible-to-predict Grand Slam champion.

I was fearless, she recalled Thursday. Nobody really knew me.

Using a grip-it-and-rip-it style, Ostapenko upset Simona Halep in the final, making the Latvian the first woman since 1979 to earn her first tour-level title at a major tournament.

Nowadays, there is more subtlety to Ostapenkos style.

Against Pliskova, she built points. She used drop shots effectively. And she handled Pliskovas serve, one of the best on tour: Ostapenko won 54% of her return points and broke five times.

Pliskova, who came into the French Open dealing with a leg injury, was not the most gracious foe after Thursdays loss.

I know that she can be tough if shes playing well, Pliskova said, but I think everything started with me. Definitely, I was not playing great.

SHAPOVALOVS DISAPPOINTMENT

From what Denis Shapovalov called the French Opens trash scheduling and its freezing weather, to a call on a shot by his opponent that looked one inch out to the annoying state of the clay and tennis balls, it seems safe to say the No. 9 seed was not in the best of moods after a five-hour loss in the second round.

What the 21-year-old Canadian did not mention were his 106 unforced errors or that he got broken twice while serving for the victory in the fifth set along the way to getting beaten 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 by 101st-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena.

Understandably, Carballes Baena’s spirits were a tad higher.

For me, its amazing,” he said. “It’s the first (time) I beat a top 10 (player). The first time Im in the third round in a Grand Slam. First time I win a match in the 5th set. So I couldnt be more happy.

Not much rest for the weary: Shapovalov was due to play a doubles match later Thursday, and that might have displeased him the most.

Scheduling is absolutely awful. I mean, after a five-hour match I have to play doubles now. Its just like, its just complete trash scheduling. Its disappointing, he said. I mean youre in a Grand Slam and I dont want to sound spoiled, you know, but you expect at least some help from the tournament to help you compete. I mean, how am I supposed to come out and play doubles now after a five-hour match?

DONT CRY FOR ME

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin takes the highs and lows of being a professional athlete to heart.

When she isnt on the court, anyway.

Before the match, I get quite emotional. Sometimes crying, said the No. 4-seeded Kenin, who reached the third round in Paris with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory against 93rd-ranked Ana Bogdan of Romania. Luckily, here, there are no tears, thank God.

But while she gets nervous while waiting to play, once she is in the thick of things, trying to win, its a different story.

During the match, I just try to put the emotions aside. I dont have time to think about my emotions. I have to play one point at a time, Kenin said. After, if I win, Im happy. … If I lose, Im crying. So far, so good.


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