French Open 2019: Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams Win in Thursday's Early Play

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2019

Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand return to Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen during their men's singles second round match on day five of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 30, 2019. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/Getty Images

World No. 1 and top seed Novak Djokovic coasted into Round 3 of the French Open on Thursday, as he overcame Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 at Roland Garros.

Elsewhere in the men's bracket, No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem won in four sets against Alexander Bublik, and Kyle Edmund was forced to retire with a knee injury when trailing 7-6 (3), 6-3, 2-1 to Pablo Cuevas. 

In the women's draw earlier in the day, world No. 1 Naomi Osaka produced another fantastic comeback to book herself a spot in the third round, as she got the better of Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Three-time champion Serena Williams enjoyed an easier day's work as she beat Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour.

                  

Selected Men's Results

(1) Novak Djkovic bt. Henri Laaksonen: 6-1, 6-4, 6-3

(4) Dominic Thiem bt. Alexander Bublik: 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-5

Salvatore Caruso bt. (26) Gilles Simon: 6-1, 6-2, 6-4

Pablo Cuevas bt. (28) Kyle Edmund: 7-6 (3), 6-3, 2-1 ret. 

             

Selected Women's Results

(10) Serena Williams bt. Kurumi Nara: 6-3, 6-2

(1) Naomi Osaka bt. Victoria Azarenka: 4-6, 7-5, 6-3

(8) Ashleigh Barty bt. Danielle Collins: 7-5, 6-1 

   

For a look at all Thursday's results, visit RolandGarros.com.

      

Thursday Recap

Djokovic continued his serene start to the competition, as he made light work of Laaksonen on Thursday. 

The top seed is enjoying an exceptional winning run in the Grand Slam events:

After taking the opening set 6-1, Djokovic appeared to drop down a few gears and allowed Laaksonen to secure a foothold in the second and third sets. However, the 15-time major champion was able to up the ante when he needed to.

Metro's George Bellshaw noted the top players in the men's draw have yet to be seriously tested:

In the women's draw, there was another scare for Osaka. The 21-year-old has won each of the last two Grand Slam tournaments and is among the favourites to go all the way at Roland Garros this year despite having never previously gone past the third round.

In the opening round, the top seed lost the first set 6-0 to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and had to survive her opponent serving for the match before she came back to win 0-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1.

A second-round clash between Osaka and two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka was an exciting prospect, and it did not disappoint.

Osaka again had to come from behind after Azarenka dominated the first set, building a 5-1 lead and eventually serving out for 6-4 after Osaka hit 15 unforced errors.

But the world No. 1 has shown during her remarkable rise that she thrives under pressure, and again she pulled off a superb comeback to get through to the third round.

Having started to find her rhythm at the end of the first set, Osaka edged a very tight second and then took advantage of the momentum to finally finish off Azarenka in two hours, 50 minutes:

Williams made much shorter work of her opponent as she continued her campaign for a 24th Grand Slam title.

Like Osaka, the legendary American had to come back from a set down in her first-round match, but Serena had no such trouble on Thursday.

She was largely dominant against Nara despite the qualifier trading holds with her to 3-3 in the opener.

Eventually, the 37-year-old's superiority told as she broke for 5-3 and served out the set, and she then took the second in fairly routine fashion:

The stats painted a fairly accurate picture of Serena's victory as she claimed three of 12 break points while giving up none, hit 36 winners to Nara's 11 and won 84 per cent of points behind her first serve. 

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