Iga Swiatek may be the overwhelming French Open favorite, but the seeds keeping dropping on the other half of the draw. That leaves Americans Coco Gauff and Amanda Anisimova as two leading contenders to make the final.
Gauff, the No. 18 seed who celebrated her high school graduation at the Eiffel Tower last week, won her first two matches in straight sets. She defeated Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck on Wednesday 6-1, 7-6 (4) to reach a third round match with Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
Going by pre-tournament odds, Gauff is the top remaining player in the bottom half of the draw. That’s because No. 4 Maria Sakkari, the lone top-10 player in the bottom half who made it out of the first round, lost her second round match to Czech Karolina Muchova 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).
But the new favorite in the bottom half, based on the first two rounds, is a different American. The 27th seed Anisimova, who made the 2019 French Open semifinals at age 17, beat Naomi Osaka in the first round and then, on Wednesday, swept Croatian veteran Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-1. Anisimova gets Muchova in the third round.
Emma Raducanu, who won the U.S. Open out of qualifying, was another high seed to get bounced from the bottom half. The 47th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus took out the 12 seed 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 on Wednesday.
The top remaining seed in the bottom half is No. 14 Belinda Bencic, who beat 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu 6-2, 6-4 in the second round later on Wednesday.
The bottom half already lost No. 2 Barbara Krejcikova, No. 5 Anett Kontaveit, No. 6 Ons Jabeur and No. 10 Garbine Muguruza in the first round.
All of the top 24 seeds in the top half advanced out of round one, led by top seed Swiatek, who is on a 29-match win streak.
Also Wednesday, No. 3 men’s seed Alexander Zverev saved a match point in the fifth set of a 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5 win over 36th-ranked Argentine Sebastian Baez.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic swept 38th-ranked Alex Molcan of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (4). Molcan is coached by Djokovic’s former coach Marian Vajda.
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