Jannik Sinner up and Andrey Rublev down at the French Open

At the French Open on Friday, Sinner pushed through but Rublev stumbled. Here is what happened.
Jannik Sinner at the French Open
Jannik Sinner at the French Open / Franco Arland/GettyImages

For much of the last couple of months, Andrey Rublev has controlled his bombastic temper under control. After several outbursts early in 2024, including being disqualified from a tournament after a line judge complained Rublev had made a slur, the Russian has stayed mostly poised. This has also correlated into an improved form, though one might not have anything to do with the other. Or maybe they are connected.

In his third-round match against Matteo Arnaldi, however, Rublev lost control of himself a bit early and started hitting his foot with his racket. Clearly, the Russian was already getting frustrated with himself. Doing so early in any event is not a great sign, but doing so in a Grand Slam when a men's player must win three sets can be horribly detrimental.

Rublev is a very good clay-court player, and after a decent run of success since the beginning of April, including winning the Madrid Masters, he should have expected to do well at the French Open. He would not have expected to lose early at the tournament and in straight sets. That is what happened on Friday, though, as Arnaldi defeated Rublev 7-6(6) 6-2 6-4.

Jannik Sinner is through to the third round of the French Open but Andrey Rublev falls

Arnaldi played nearly flawless tennis. He had 13 aces against just one double fault and 47 winners against just 19 unforced errors. Few players were going to beat the Italian the way he performed against Rublev.

Another Italian also made it through the third round unscathed. Second-seed Jannik Sinner coolly pushed by Pavel Kotov 6-4 6-4 6-4. Kotov looked fairly exhausted for much of the last part of the match, but he still made most games difficult for Sinner with pin-point shot-making. Sinner did not play badly either, and getting a match like the one against Kotov is probably going to help him as the tournament wears on.

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Sinner has had to rest his hip due to an injury, so he might still be shaking off a bit of rust. Still, his serve was impeccable, rarely challenged in his service games, and was never broken. All Sinner needed to do was break Kotov three times to take the match. Sinner will next play either Sebastian Ofner or Corentin Moutet.

On the WTA side, Coco Gauff had no issues with Dayan Yastremska winning 6-2 6-4. Gauff made the finals of the French Open in 2022, and her athleticism is going to be a problem for any player. Iga Swiatek is attempting to win her fourth French Open title in five years, but Gauff might be her biggest issue in that quest.

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