Coco Gauff | AFP
PARIS: American Coco Gauff rallied from a tough opening set to beat Mirra Andreeva of Russia in an all-teen showdown in the third round of the French Open on Saturday.
Experience eventually told as the 19-year-old Gauff, who was the runner-up at Roland Garros last year, prevailed 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1, sealing the result with a cross-court backhand winner.
That ended an impressive Grand Slam debut for the 16-year-old Andreeva, who earlier this week became the the youngest player to win a match in the women’s main draw at the French Open since 2005.
Top-ranked Iga Swiatek continued her impressive run as she took just 51 minutes to beat Xinyu Wang 6-0, 6-0. Swiatek has dropped just eight games through three rounds.
Last year’s men's finalist Casper Ruud also had to recover from losing the opening set to beat Zhang Zhizhen, ending a strong run by the Chinese player.
The fourth-seeded Ruud, who lost to Rafael Nadal in last year’s final, won 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.
“I’m very happy with being through the first three matches. It’s tough,” Ruud said. "It’s been much more pressure, obviously, playing this year compared to last year.
"Last year, I could sort of just do my work in the shadow. This year it’s a little more eyes on me ... I feel the pressure a bit different this year."
Zhang was the first Chinese man to reach the third round at Roland Garros since Kho Sin-Khie in 1937. Kho also reached the fourth round in 1936 but that proved a step too far for Zhang, despite a lightning start on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Zhang broke Ruud in the opening game and went on to take the set as the Norwegian player grew more and more frustrated.
Matters grew worse for Ruud as he found himself 0-40 down on his serve early in the second set but he collected his emotions and — after a topsy-turvy set — went on to level the match at his first opportunity.
Ruud then improved in the last two sets and sealed the match with a forehand down the line on the first of two match points.
Elsewhere, reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina pulled out of the French Open before her third-round match against Sara Sorribes Tormo because she is sick.
That saw sixth-seeded Holger Rune open play on Court Philippe Chatrier and he comfortably dispatched qualifier Genaro Alberto Olivieri, who — at 231 — was the lowest-ranked player to reach the third round this year. Rune won 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 in less than two hours.
It was harder work for Yoshihito Nishioka in his 3-6, 7-6 (8), 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Thiago Seyboth Wild. That was the 30th match at this year's French Open that has gone to five sets.