Tennis: Classy Carlos Alcaraz books spot in fourth round of French Open, Iga Swiatek advances

Third seed Carlos Alcaraz has sparkled and shown steely resolve in his most convincing match at the French Open this year for a 6-4 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over American Sebastian Korda to reach the fourth round of Roland Garros.

Still wearing a compression sleeve on his right arm after a recent injury, Alcaraz broke Korda in a close first game, but the world No.3 allowed his 27th-seeded opponent to hit back instantly and drag him into a fight on Court Philippe Chatrier.

He revved up his backhand to set up the opportunity to break for a 5-4 lead, pouncing when Korda netted a flying volley after surging forward and the Spaniard took the opening set by holding serve to love in the following game.

Carlos Alcaraz.
Carlos Alcaraz. Photo credit: Getty Images

The 2023 semi-finalist was clearly in the mood to entertain the evening crowd early in the next as he pulled off a sideways tweener that Korda dealt with at the net, and later lobbed him with a backhand from deep to draw level at 1-1.

Korda, who arrived at Paris hoping to emulate father Petr's 1992 feat of reaching the Roland Garros final, could do little to stop his showman opponent from breaking, but hung on during fierce rallies to hit back and level at 3-3.

Alcaraz let out a scream, after blasting a 101mph forehand to win the tiebreak and double his lead in the contest, and the finish line appeared in sight, when he broke for a 3-1 lead in the third set, which he wrapped up with a neat volley.  

Earlier, Iga Swiatek and Jannik Sinner kept their cool to breeze into the fourth round, but the red mist descended on Andrey Rublev, who raged and ranted, before becoming the highest men's seed to crash out.

Three-time champion Swiatek could not have asked for a more fitting venue than Court Philippe Chatrier to celebrate her 23rd birthday and the top-seeded Pole gave herself the perfect gift, with a 6-4 6-2 thumping of Czech Marie Bouzkova.

Sinner also soaked up plenty of applause under the roof, as the Australian Open champion dismantled Russian Pavel Kotov 6-4 6-4 6-4, while third seed Coco Gauff and eighth seed Ons Jabeur were also home and dry without too much fuss.

Iga Swiatek.
Iga Swiatek. Photo credit: Getty Images

As grey clouds gathered over Roland Garros for a sixth day, spectators at Suzanne Lenglen sensed a big storm brewing inside Rublev's head and the sixth seed let his emotions take over in his 7-6(6) 6-2 6-4 defeat by Matteo Arnaldi.

Rublev screamed at himself, as the match began to slip away, before also throwing his racket on the ground, hitting his legs with it and kicking his courtside bench.

The scenes were reminiscent of the time he bloodied his leg with his racket at the ATP Finals in 2023 and got defaulted two months ago at Dubai for yelling at a line judge.

The performance was a huge letdown after Rublev's talent took the spotlight in a run to the Madrid Masters title, raising hopes that a maiden Grand Slam crown was within his grasp, after reaching the last-eight at the majors 10 times.

"Completely disappointed with myself, the way I behaved, the way I performed and I don't remember behaving worse in a Grand Slam ever," said a remorseful Rublev. "I think it was first time I've behaved that bad."

Jabeur is another player who can work her magic on Parisian dirt, and the Tunisian continued her latest quest to become the first Arab and African woman to win a Grand Slam by defeating Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4 7-6(5).