Osaka survives as big daddy Djokovic, Serena stroll

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Wang Qiang of China returns the ball during the women's singles second round match with Iga Swiatek of Poland at French Open tennis tournament 2019 at Roland Garros, in Paris, France on May 30, 2019. Iga Swiatek won 2-0. (Xinhua/Han Yan)

Top-positioned Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka secured their third round spots in different manners at French Open, while all Chinese players have bowed out in singles following No. 16 seed Wang Qiang's elimination on Thursday.

Djokovic won 81 percent on his first serves, and conceded 11 fewer unforced errors than Swiss Henri Laaksonen, reaching last 32 by a commanding score of 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.

The men's top seed will take on Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso in their first career meeting.

"It's really interesting, the third match in a row that I get to play against someone that I have never faced before in a match. That never happened in my career and in a Grand Slam," commented Djokovic.

No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem, last year's beaten finalist, labored to a 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Alexander Bublik, while fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev continued his trip by overcoming Mikael Ymer 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

The eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro survived a five-set thriller to see off Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-2 after three hours and 46 minutes.

Osaka was forced a full-set victory over former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka once again after bouncing back from the brink of elimination in her opener of the campaign.

Osaka conceded the first set before trailing 2-4 in the followed-up. However, she managed to get rid of another seemingly early exit at 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

"I was just waiting for her to get a little bit tired. I think she did towards the end of the second set and the third set. That's when I just tried to really accelerate on how fast I was sort of winning the points," Osaka noted.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams outclassed Japan's Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-2.

"She was playing really good tennis the whole time, and I just had to play a little bit better," Williams pointed out.

Defending champion Simona Halep was also made to sweat, as she squandered three match points before getting past Magda Linette 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

Wang, the last Chinese player remaining in singles draw, fell 6-3, 6-0 to Polish youngster Iga Swiatek.

"She played really well and aggressive, and could attack my balls," admitted Wang, adding that her 17-year-old opponent has the prospect of reaching top 10 on ranking if she keeps playing like that.

Following their Australian Open success earlier this year, China's Zhang Shuai and partner Samantha Stosur of Australia eased past Veronika Kudermetova and Galina Voskoboeva 6-3, 6-0 into women's doubles second round.

Zhang's compatriot Xu Yifan, along with Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski, also marched on, but Chinese pairing of Jiang Xinyu and Wang Qiang slid away with a 6-2, 6-2 loss.

Yang Zhaoxuan triumphed in women's doubles first round with Polish partner Alicja Rosolska, but lost her mixed doubles opener with Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina. 

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