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French Open: No. 4 seeds upset in third round

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PARIS (AP) — The seeds began meeting at the French Open on Friday, producing the highest-ranked exits in the men’s and women’s draws.

Both No. 4 seeds, Grigor Dimitrov and Elina Svitolina, were upset to start third-round play at Roland Garros. The other top seeds in action all advanced, led by No. 2 Alexander Zverev (barely) and No. 7 Dominic Thiem and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 13 Madison Keys.

NBC’s coverage of the French Open continues Saturday at 12 p.m. ET, also streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Saturday’s third-round schedule includes Serena Williams playing No. 11 Julia Goerges of Germany, Maria Sharapova against No. 6 Karolina Pliskova and Rafael Nadal versus Richard Gasquet. Williams and Sharapova would play each other in the fourth round.

On Friday, Dimitrov fell to 0-7 against top-50 opponents at the French Open and still has never made it to the fourth round at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament.

Dimitrov, a two-time major semifinalist, bowed out 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 against Fernando Verdasco, who is ranked 35th and seeded 30th.

In his previous match, Dimitrov had come back after trailing two sets to one and defeated Jared Donaldson 10-8 in the fifth set. That 4-hour, 19-minute victory might have taken something out of Dimitrov.

Verdasco, meanwhile, got to the French Open round of 16 for the seventh time. He has lost at that stage on all six previous chances to reach the quarterfinals.

Svitolina surprisingly lost 6-3, 7-5 against Mihaela Buzarnescu, who never had won a Grand Slam match until this week.

Svitolina reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2015 and 2017 and was coming off a second consecutive title in Rome on red clay. She also came into the French Open with a chance to get to No. 1.

But the 31st-seeded Buzarnescu, a Romanian with a PhD in sports science, continued the surge that has seen her rise nearly 350 spots in the rankings over the past year. She has not dropped a set yet and will face U.S. Open runner-up Keys in the fourth round.

Zverev is into the fourth round of the French Open for the first time, saving match point to win 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 against Damir Dzumhur, who collided with a ball boy in the fourth set.

Wozniacki breezed past French wild-card entry Pauline Parmentier 6-0, 6-3 and appears to be brimming with self-belief after her breakthrough Australian Open title in January.

Venus Williams and Serena Williams advanced to the third round in doubles, beating Sara Errani and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-2.

The Williams-Williams duo last competed at a major tournament together at Wimbledon in 2016. They won their 14th Grand Slam title in doubles at the All England Club.

Serena Williams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, is playing in Grand Slam singles for the first time in 16 months. She has reached the third round at Roland Garros, but her older sister lost in the first round.

Rain ended play prematurely on Friday, with U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens among those unable to start their scheduled matches.

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, results

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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