Home » French Open 2023 results: Novak Djokovic beats Aleksandar Kovacevic, Carlos Alcaraz also through in first round

French Open 2023 results: Novak Djokovic beats Aleksandar Kovacevic, Carlos Alcaraz also through in first round

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French Open 2023 results: Novak Djokovic beats Aleksandar Kovacevic, Carlos Alcaraz also through in first round
Novak Djokovic won the French Open in 2016 and 2021
Dates: 28 May-11 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Coverage: Live text and radio commentaries of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app

Novak Djokovic began his campaign for a record 23rd men’s Grand Slam singles title with victory and world number one Carlos Alcaraz also progressed to the second round at Roland Garros.

Djokovic, a two-time champion in Paris, claimed a straightforward 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-1) win over Aleksandar Kovacevic.

US Open champion Alcaraz also came through in straight sets, beating Italian Flavio Cobolli 6-0 6-2 7-5.

The two are in the same half of the draw and could meet in the semi-finals.

Spain’s Alcaraz cruised through the first two sets before eventually taking his fifth match point after Cobolli had threatened to force a fourth set.

The 20-year-old will face Japan’s Taro Daniel next as he continues his bid for a second major title.

Asked about his approach to the sport after Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas yesterday described him as a “breath of fresh air”, Alcaraz said: “I heard that Stefanos said he was starting to enjoy his tennis more because of me.

“For me it’s the most important thing to enjoy and smile on court.”

Djokovic was forced to play a third set tie-break against the 114nd-ranked Kovacevic after being broken as he served for the match in the 10th game.

That came after the crowd had booed his celebration when he broke back against the American midway through the set.

“I played well in the first two sets but then I missed opportunities and lost a little focus,” Djokovic, who will face Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics next, said.

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“But it is also a sign of Aleks’ level, which was getting better. When you get to a Grand Slam it is not the opponent who gives you the victory, you have to earn it.”

Thiem ‘on right track’ after going from tennis heaven to tennis hell

Two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem hopes he is on his way back to “tennis heaven” despite falling to a narrow defeat against Argentine Pedro Cachin.

Thiem, who finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2018 and 2019, fought back from two sets down but was ultimately edged out 6-3 6-2 6-7 (1-7) 4-6 6-2.

The 2020 US Open winner’s progress was derailed by a wrist injury in 2021 which kept him off the ATP Tour for 10 months but he has since climbed back into the world’s top 100.

Discussing the emotions of recent years and his bid to return to the top of the men’s game, Thiem said: “It was exactly like that, from tennis heaven to tennis hell, and now hopefully back to tennis heaven.

“It’s a very good challenge that I’m facing right now. It’s tough obviously but I’m really convinced with the way that I’m going, especially the last six weeks. That’s when I started to be really into my career again, really push myself every day to the limit.

“But six weeks is not enough yet to make a deep run here. I have to continue working like that.

“I feel that I’m on the right track again. Today I just failed to reward myself.”

Auger-Aliassime becomes first men’s top-10 seed to fall

Elsewhere on day two, Canada’s Happy Auger-Also became the first men’s top-10 seed to exit the clay major.

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The 10th seed lost 6-4 6-4 6-3 to Italy’s Fabio Fognini in his fourth first-round defeat in five years at Roland Garros.

There was victory for another Canadian, however, as Denis Shapovalov battled to a 6-4 7-5 4-6 3-6 6-3 win over American Brandon Nakashima.

American 12th seed Frances Tiafoe progressed with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic, while there were also victories for top-20 seeds Alex de Minaur and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Australian 18th seed From Minaur beat Belarusian Ilya Ivashka in four sets, while Spain’s 19th seed Baptist Agut wrapped up a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 6-1 win over China’s Wu Yibing.

Stan WawrinkaSwitzerland’s 2015 champion, lost a two-set lead against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas before rallying in the decider to win 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 1-6 6-4 win.

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