Tennis – bloody hell! Pavlyuchenkova has now won four straight games and leads 4-3 in the first set. This one could get interesting.
Sabalenka finds a couple of break points now, but the 29-year-old Pavlyuchenkova does well to bring it back to deuce in this sixth game of the first set. Our Eurosport commentator informs us that this is the 14th time Pavlyuchenkova has played at Roland Garros, which is quite a record.
Sabalenka now saves a game point with a few massive groundstrokes that wear Pavlyuchenkova down with sheer force … however, the Russian eventually finds a way.
And now Pavlyuchenkova finds a break of her oppenents serve, and is right back in this first set at 3-2.
Pavlyuchenkova is now on the board: it’s 3-1 in Sabalenka’s favour.
Elsewhere, Elena Rybakina (21) now leads Elena Vesnina 5-0 in their first set.
On Court Simonne Mathieu, Aryna Sabalenka (3) has raced into a 3-0 first-set lead against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (31). Sabalenka is the top-seeded player left in the women’s competition, following the withdrawals of Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka.
The debate on Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from this tournament rumbles on. Watch a video explainer, featuring the thoughts of our tennis reporter Tumaini Carayol, right here:
Yesterday we saw Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek, among others, progress safely to the third round at Roland Garros, while the women’s world No 1, Ash Barty, was forced to retire from her match against Magda Linette with a hip injury. There was also a notable flare-up over slow play between Federer and his opponent Marin Cilic.
There was no shortage of action and drama on Thursday, so what will Friday bring? In the women’s singles, Victoria Azarenka faces Madison Keys from 11am, and Serena Williams will be on court at 3pm for a third-round match against compatriot Daniel Rose-Collins.
In the men’s singles, Alexander Zverev is due on court at 11.15am to meet Laslo Dere of Hungary, and two hours after that, Daniil Medvedev will face off against the American Reilly Opelka.
Those are just a few of the matches on today’s menu, which will no doubt be full of skill, intensity, super slow-motion replays, and frequent use of the towel. Let’s go!