Tennis: Djokovic, Sabalenka advance as French Open enacts alcohol ban to stop unruly fans

Novak Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic. Photo credit: Getty Images

Aryna Sabalenka and Novak Djokovic have soared into the third round of the French Open, as tournament organisers stepped up their fight against unruly fans by announcing an alcohol ban in the stands, while also dealing with the wet-weather backlog.

Playing under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier, even as Roland Garros officials were scratching their heads over what to do with the schedule after a fifth straight rain-hit day, second seed Sabalenka blew away qualifier Moyuka Uchijima 6-2 6-2.

"That's the little advantage we get as top players, because we play in big stadiums with the roof," Sabalenka said. "I knew that no matter what the weather is going to be, I'm going to play my match - that's really helpful."

Defending champion Djokovic then outclassed Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4 6-1 6-2, while seeds Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev, Elena Rybakina and Elina Svitolina all went through unaffected by conditions, due to overhead cover.

The story was vastly different on the outer courts, where the action got into full swing only late in the afternoon, with the backlog from Wednesday's washout adding to the woes of players and officials.

Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova overcame American Katie Volynets 0-6 6-1 6-4 in one of those matches, while 11th seed Danielle Collins fell to Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic 6-7(3) 7-5 6-4, after dealing with a neck issue.

Play will begin early on Friday to ease pressure on the packed schedule.

With spirits already dampened on a soggy day, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo banned the consumption of wine and beer in the stands to control spectators, after Belgian David Goffin accused one fan of spitting gum at him two days ago.

Aryna Sabalenka.
Aryna Sabalenka. Photo credit: Getty Images

Holder Iga Swiatek had also urged supporters not to scream during rallies, especially in high-pressure contests, after the Pole beat Naomi Osaka.

"First of all, we're happy people are very enthusiastic about watching tennis and being part of the matches, showing feeling and emotions, but there are definitely steps which shouldn't go further" said Mauresmo. "A few things have needed to be put in place.

"Alcohol was allowed up until now in the stands, but that's over."

Security will be deployed to ensure fans follow rules and respect players, while umpires have been asked to be stricter, with more measures likely, if the situation does not improve.

All eyes will now be on the evening match, when Frenchman Gael Monfils takes on Lorenzo Musetti, seeking a 40th win in the tournament to go level with Yannick Noah for the most Roland Garros victories by a local player in the Open era.