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World No. 1 Alcaraz too much for Shapovalov in Roland-Garros third round

Denis Shapovalov Denis Shapovalov - The Canadian Press

PARIS — Carlos Alcaraz was simply too much for Denis Shapovalov at the French Open.

The world No. 1 cruised to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over the 26th-seeded Canadian, whose occasional flashes of brilliance Friday were undone by a string of unforced errors.

A hard-fought second set was bookended by a pair of Alcaraz romps in a match that wrapped up in two hours 10 minutes.

Alcaraz, who will face Italy's Lorenzo Musetti in the fourth round, set the tone early on his preferred clay-court surface when he broke Shapovalov's first service game.

Playing in the third round at Roland Garros for the first time in his career, the Canadian showed some fight in avoiding the bagel by coming back from double match point in the sixth game. But Alcaraz put it away on his third set point to take an early advantage.

To Shapovalov's credit, he showed he could hang with the tournament's top seed in the second set.

At least for a while.

Shapovalov opened with a hard-fought hold that took almost seven minutes to complete.

The former world No. 10 from Richmond Hill, Ont., worked even harder for his first break of the match to go up 2-0 in another marathon game. Alcaraz fought off triple break point, then another break after forcing deuce, before Shapovalov finally prevailed in a game that lasted just shy of nine minutes.

That work was quickly undone when Shapovalov committed three double-faults in Alcaraz's third break of the match to cut the lead to 2-1.

Undaunted, Shapovalov got the break back with a powerful forehand to go up 3-1. This time he was able to consolidate the break.

There's little margin for error against a player of Alcaraz's ability, however. And perhaps fatigued by the effort to get back into the match, Shapovalov let his opponent off the hook.

Alcaraz broke again in the seventh game to cut Shapovalov's second-set lead to 4-3, then broke for a 5-4 advantage in another game that saw Shapovalov hit in to multiple double-faults.

Alcaraz then served to love to run his winning streak to five games and take Set 2.

Shapovalov's struggles continued to start the third set. He gave Alcaraz another break point with his eighth double-fault, then converted it for the Spaniard with his ninth.

Alcaraz went up two breaks in the set when he broke to love for a 4-1 lead and cruised the rest of the way. The Spaniard won on his second match point when Shapovalov hit the ball into the net.

Meanwhile, Canadians Gabriela Dabrowski and Leylah Fernandez are headed for a third-round showdown in women's doubles.

Ottawa's Dabrowski and Brazilian partner Luisa Stefani, the eighth-seeded team at Roland Garros, advanced with a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Hungary's Dalma Galfi and Katarzyna Piter.

Serving was the difference, with Dabrowski and Stefani committing one double-fault compared to 15 for Galfi and Piter, who landed just 49 per cent of their first serves.

Fernandez, from Laval, Que., and American partner Taylor Townsend, seeded 10th, converted five of eight break points in a lopsided 6-2, 6-1 win over Taiwan's Fang-Hsien Wu and Estonia's Ingrid Neel.

Fernandez and Townsend have found success since starting their partnership in March, advancing to the final of the Miami Open and the semifinals of the Madrid Open, both WTA 1000 events.

Dabrowski and Stefani have reached three quarterfinals this season, including two WTA 1000 events.

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., the last Canadian remaining in singles competition, faces Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in women's third-round action Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2023.