Tennis

French Open 2022: Emma Raducanu v Aliaksandra Sasnovich on day four – live!


This is such a fun match! Sanovich raises a break point, saved by Raaducanu with a booming serve, then another is repelled via backhand winner down the line, and another at the end of a long rally when a deep backhand forces the long riposte. But Sasnovich isn’t arsed at all! She chops a backhand slice drop on advantage, and that’s her double break! We’re going to get the decider the match merits and we so richly deserve! Sasnovich 3-6 3-0 Raducanu

Ugo Carabelli is making a match of things now, forcing Auger-Aliassime to go through deuce for his hold – he now leads 6-0 2-1. Meantime, Isner is now a break, as well as a set up, Teichmann is a set up, and Petkovic leads Azarenka 3-1 in set two, Azarenka having won the first.

Colossal forehands give Sasnovich the break first up in set two, and she consolidates in short order. This is a really good match – both players are terrific athletes, below only Swiatek reckon our commentators, and they’re hitting beautifully. Sasnovich 3-6 2-0 Raducanu

Aliaksandra Sasnovich plays a forehand.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich plays a forehand. Photograph: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

Elsewhere, Azarenka has taken the first set off Petkovic, 6-1, Ugo Carabelli has won his first game against Auger-Aliassime to trail 6-0 1-1, and Teichmann, the women’s number 23 seed, leads Danilovich 5-4 on serve.

…and Raducanu only needs one, chasing in to smite a backhand cross-court that breaks the sideline! She takes the first set 6-3 and is playing very nicely indeed – Sasnovich started fast, but gradually, Raducanu has climbed all over her. Great stuff.

Sasnovich goes long with a forehand down the line, raising two set points for Raducanu…

Again, Raducanu hangs tough, going to leave a ball she thought was going out, changing her mind, playing it, and winning the point for a come-from-behind hold to 30. Sasnovich will now serve to stay in the set, trailing 3-5.

“Totally agree with you about Raducanu’s win at the US Open,” emails Rob Corcoran. “What made it even more incredible was how emphatic all her victories were. Each win in straight sets, no tiebreaks required – including wins against the Olympic champion Bencic and Shelby Rogers who’d just beaten Ash Barty in the previous round. I was thinking earlier in the week about how Raducanu’s superior fitness saw her over the line in the first round here at Roland Garros. Had any of her opponents taken her to a third set at the US Open the more seasoned pros could have seen off Raducanu as she tired, but that scenario never played out as she just swatted everyone away in two sets. It was truly phenomenal.”

Women’s tennis is in an incredible place at the moment, with so many different major winners. The overall standard is brilliant and so are the contests, because no one has a clue what’s going to happen – though Iga Swiatek is showing signs of developing into our next dominant champ.

Auger-Aliassime bagels – or beigels – Ugo Carabelli 6-0; Isner takes the first set off Barrere 6-4; Azarenka leads Petkovic 5-1; and Raducanu consolidates her break, through deuce again, for 4-2. I keep saying it, but her ability to squeak through the tight ones is a joke.

Two terrific backhands from Raducanu, the second a clean winner that breaks the sideline, earns her break point, and after two more thunderous backhands, she uncorks a forehand winner! She is so good when it gets tight! Sasnovich 2-3 Raducanu

Raducanu slides in for a backhand.
Raducanu slides in for a backhand. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

“Where are the spectators?” wonders Chris Hardwick. They’ll be with us during the course of the day, but it’s also the case that Parisians aren’t as compelled by their major as Londoners are.

Sasnovich forces a break point, but Raducanu finds a decent first serve to force the long return, then saves a second with a change-up backhand down the line. We then go backwards and forward from deuce to advantage, before Raducanu secures her hold for 2-2. Elsewhere, Auger-Aliassime now leads Ugo Carabelli 4-0, Isner leads Barrere 5-3 and Azarenka is a break up on Petkovic.

Auger-Aliassime breaks immediately, while Sasnovich holds emphatically. The more I think about it, the more absolutely rabid it is that Raducanu won the US Open, not because she isn’t good – she is – or didn’t deserve to – she did – but even so. To just turn up at 19 and breeze through, when there are so many brilliant players around, remains unfathomable the best part of a year later. It’s up there with Bozzer Becker winning Wimbledon in 1985 – though he also won Queen’s and retained his title – and Rob Cross winning the world darts in 2018 – as one of the all-time great achievements I’ve ever seen, in any sport.

Raducanu didn’t play especially well in her first-round match, but she hung in there when it got tough – she’s got serious mentality. Should she win today, Sasnovich would the highest-ranked opponent she’s beaten this year, and she looks “pumped” – is there a a more tennis word than that? – in holding to 15. Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile – who needed to come from two sets down to beat Varillas, a qualifier, on Monday – holds his first service game via deuce.

Who’d like to hear a funny story? I just got a call from the office of the school attended by my eight-year-old; her contact lens has come out and she’s forgotten to take her glasses. My wife is away with the car, and I’ve not got time to run them over before the tennis, so I stick them in a cab. Great parenting, Daniel. Then the school call again: thanks a lot, but you’ve sent an empty case. so please excuse me for a moment while I return to Ali, the same driver – of course. Sasnovich 1-1 Raducanu

I might’ve changed my mind: Korda v Gasquet might be the match of the day. But in the meantime, Sasnovich and Raducanu are warming up – I’ll start by watching them and, I think, Auger-Aliassime v Ugo Carabelli.

Order of play: show courts

Chatrier

Kerber [21] v Jacquemot

Zverev [3] v Baez

Bencic [14] Andreescu

Moutet v Nadal [5]

**

Lenglen

Sasnovich v Raducanu [12]

Muchova v Sakkari [4]

Djokovic [1] v Molcan

Korda [27] v Gasquet

**

Mathieu

Isner [23] v Barrere

Gauff [18] v Van Uytvanck

Ramos-Vinolas v Alcaraz [6]

Osorio v Parry

Preamble

Morning! I love this time of year, an absolute fest of ridiculous sport during the working day. And we’ve got absolutely loads of it for

me


you
us right here – the match of the day looks like Carlos Alcaraz v Albert Ramos-Vinolas, but don’t sleep on Coco Gauff v Alison Uytvanck, Karolina Muchova v Maria Sakkari, Sebastian Korda v Richard Gasquet or Belinda Bencic v Bianca Andreescu – and in addition to that, we’ve got Emma Raducanu, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Angelique Kerber. Frankly, it’s ridiculous.

On y va!

Play: 11am local, 10am BST



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