British number one Kyle Edmund is bidding make the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time this afternoon.
Standing in the way of the 16th seed is Italian Fabio Fognini, a player renowned for his volatile temper who was thrown out of last year’s US Open for shouting obscenities at a female umpire.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are both playing for a place in the fourth round — where they would face each other for the 22nd time.
Williams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, is playing in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 16 months. She is unseeded at Roland Garros and plays 11th-seeded Julia Goerges. Williams has won their two previous matches.
The 28th-seeded Sharapova is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015. The five-time Grand Slam champion, who has twice won the French Open, takes on sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova.
In men’s action, top-ranked Rafael Nadal meets a familiar rival in Richard Gasquet. He has beaten the 27th-seeded Frenchman in all 15 of their head-to-head matches.
Welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE coverage of the 2018 French Open.
Juan Martin Del Potro has eased into the fourth round of the French Open by beating No. 31 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5, 6-4, 6-1. Rafael Nadal. Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Serena is through
Next up for the US star?
Maria Sharapova, of course.
Williams is just too strong for Gorges so far, and takes the first set 6-3.
Serena Williams is currently in action at Roland Garros, and it’s 1-1 in the first set of her clash against Julia Gorges of Germany.
Simona Halep has advanced to the fourth round of the French Open for the third straight year, beating Andrea Petkovic of Germany 7-5, 6-0.
Elsewhere at Roland Garros, sixth seed Kevin Anderson is a potential quarter-final opponent for Nadal after beating Mischa Zverev 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-6 (7/4).
Rafael Nadal swatted aside the latest challenge to his seemingly inexorable march towards an 11th French Open title.
“Richard is a good friend and is a nice person. We grew up together, with a lot of talk between both of us when we were kids. Now we’re older, that’s all.
“It was a great feeling. It was emotional thing for me to play with him here on this court.”
Kyle Edmund admitted he missed his big chance to reach the fourth round of the French Open after losing in five sets to Fabio Fognini, writes Andy Sims.
The British number one, who has never made the last 16 at Roland Garros, was edged out 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 by Italy’s Fognini.
Edmund was serving at 4-5 in the final set when he missed a forehand to give Fognini three match points
Having saved one, he then pushed another forehand long to hand Fognini victory and bow out in the third round for the third consecutive year.
“Always losing in five sets is tough. But I did the best I could,” the 23-year-old said.
“Sometimes it’s just not your day. I have been on the opposite end, winning a few five-setters, and today just losing one.
“It’s always tough when you put in lots of effort and emotion. It’s what you train for.
“I had my chances, he had his chances, but he just got them. I had break points in the fifth, I just couldn’t get them, and when he had his break points he obviously did.
“The margin is always very small. I have won some tight matches this year and this one is a close one I have lost.”
Edmund’s final shot was the 108th unforced error of a curious match, full of peaks and troughs from both players.
Edmund, who contributed 48 of those errors, seemed tetchier than usual, appearing distracted by camera clicks from courtside photographers as he went to serve.
Fognini is famed for his fiery temper and did not disappoint, hurling his racket against the back wall after one rally went begging – but that was fairly tame for a man thrown out of the US Open last year for his bad behaviour.
Neither player looked fully fit, either. Edmund needed treatment on his hip, while Fognini at one stage had to have his ankle heavily strapped.
A stodgy encounter began with Edmund breaking the Italian’s serve in the first game, only to then have to contend with a lengthy delay when, at break point down, a spectator received medical treatment.
The 16th seed survived that, but then dropped serve twice as clay-court specialist Fognini took the set.
Yet Edmund looked back on track in the next two, going ahead 2-1 only to re-emerge sluggish in the fourth to allow Fognini to force a decider.
Fognini was becoming increasingly agitated as the fifth set progressed, either chuntering to himself, swatting imaginary balls away or complaining about the crowd.
Edmund just needed to keep his cool, it seemed. Yet when they reached 5-4, on serve, in Fognini’s favour, the man from Sanremo pounced.
Two waspish forehands from Fognini, two misses from Edmund and suddenly Britain’s last hope in the singles draw had tumbled out.
There was more disappointment for Britain with Jamie Murray and his partner Bruno Soares losing in the men’s doubles to Maximu Gonzalez and Nicolas Jarry.
Heather Watson and her partner Tatjana Maria also lost, against Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
Nadal is through to the fourth round
Rafael Nadal delivered another clay-court masterclass as he marched into the fourth round of the French Open.
The Spaniard’s strength and power on his favourite surface was too much for French 27th seed Richard Gasquet in an emphatic 6-3 6-2 6-2 win.
Nadal is the red-hot favourite to win the title – his 11th – and has yet to drop a set in the tournament so far.
He will play Germany’s Max Marterer, the 22-year-old world number 70, in the last 16.
Just when Petra Kvitova was beginning to look like a genuine French Open title prospect her claycourt hot streak was ended on match number 13 by unsung Estonian Anett Kontaveit, writes Martyn Herman.
“I couldn’t really imagine myself playing so well on the clay. So I’m very proud of myself. It was a great clay season. And I’m pretty sad that the clay season is finishing.
Nadal takes the second set
Another brief wobble from the King of Clay as Gasquet wins back some pride with two games but Nadal sees out the second 6-2 to go two ahead.
This one could be done in the next half an hour if the Frenchman doesn’t up his game.
Nadal in control again
The second set has started much like the first as Nadal races into a 3-0 lead against the no.29 seed, breaking in the first and third game.
Nadal takes the first set
Well, that took longer than expected after the opening five sets as Gasquet wins three on the bounce before the no.1 seed saw out a sixth game.
Nadal is not messing around
The no.1 seed and King of Clay is certainly ruling the roost in Paris as he leads Richard Gasquet 5-0 in the first set on Philippe-Chatrier.
Fognini beats Edmund!
The Italian wins 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-4.
Maria Sharapova set up a potential fourth-round clash with Serena Williams by posting a straightforward victory over Karolina Pliskova at the French Open on Saturday.
The two-time champion from Russia, seeded 28, defeated the sixth-seeded Czech 6-2 6-1 on Philippe-Chatrier Court to progress with the minimum fuss in 59 minutes.
Former world number one Williams, playing in her first major since winning the 2017 Australian Open, having given birth to her daughter in September, faces 11th seed Julia Goerges of Germany later on Saturday.
Sharapova is competing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, following her 15-month doping ban and failure to qualify last year.
She was taken to three sets in round one by Holland’s Richel Hogenkamp and had to dig deep again on Thursday to overcome Croatia’s Donna Vekic in round two.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens clung on for dear life to reach the fourth round of the French Open with a 4-6 6-1 8-6 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi.
Fognini takes the fourth
…and gold he does not! Whether his knee was still bothering Edmund, or fatigue was setting in, he put two tired-looking shot into the net to allow Fognini to break early in the fourth.
But in a curious match of peaks and troughs from both players, Fognini was again cutting a frustrated figure as Edmund reeled off three straight games.
However, a sluggish service game from Edmund gifted Fognini the set 6-4 and forced a decider.
Into the fifth we go.
Fognini closes in on the fourth
The pair trade games but the Italian looks in control, holding to love to go 5-4 ahead in the fourth. Edmund must hold himself to avoid dropping another set.
Edmund levels in the third
…and wake up, he did!
Edmund breaks back, sending Fognini around the court with apparent ease before holding after a mini wobble.
We are 3-3 in third, Edmund leads 2-1.
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Play begins on all courts at 10am UK time
(3) Garbine Muguruza (Spa) v Samantha Stosur (Aus)
(15) Lucas Pouille (Fra) v Karen Khachanov (Rus)
(28) Maria Sharapova (Rus) v (6) Karolina Pliskova (Cze)
(1) Rafael Nadal (Spa) v (27) Richard Gasquet (Fra)
(31) Albert Ramos-Vinolas (Spa) v (5) Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg)
(18) Fabio Fognini (Ita) v (16) Kyle Edmund (Gbr)
(8) David Goffin (Bel) v (32) Gael Monfils (Fra)
Irina-Camelia Begu (Rom) v (7) Caroline Garcia (Fra)
Julia Goerges (Ger) v Serena Williams (USA)
(9) John Isner (USA) v Pierre-Hugues Herbert (Fra)
(8) Petra Kvitova (Cze) v (25) Anett Kontaveit (Est)
Mischa Zverev (Ger) v (6) Kevin Anderson (Rsa)
(3) Marin Cilic (Cro) v Steve Johnson (USA)
(12) Angelique Kerber (Ger) v (18) Kiki Bertens (Ned)
(10) Raven Klaasen (Rsa) & Michael Venus (Nzl) v (8) Nikola Mektic (Cro) & Alexander Peya (Aut)
(4) Jamie Murray (Gbr) & Bruno Soares (Bra) v Maximo Gonzalez (Arg) & Nicolas Jarry (Chi)
(1) Timea Babos (Hun) & Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) v Nao Hibino (Jpn) & Oksana Kalashnikova (Geo)
(8) Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Ger) & Robert Farah (Col) v Alla Kudryavtseva (Rus) & Nikola Mektic (Cro)
(11) Raquel Atawo (USA) & Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Ger) v Eri Hozumi (Jpn) & Makoto Ninomiya (Jpn)
Kaitlyn Christian (USA) & Carina Witthoeft (Ger) v (5) Gabriela Dabrowski (Can) & Yi Fan Xu (Chn)
(1) Lukasz Kubot (Pol) & Marcelo Melo (Bra) v (13) Rohan Bopanna (Ind) & Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra)
(19) Magdalena Rybarikova (Svk) v Lesia Tsurenko (Ukr)
Maximilian Marterer (Ger) v Jurgen Zopp (Est)
(24) Daria Gavrilova (Aus) v (16) Elise Mertens (Bel)
Jennifer Brady (USA) & Vania King (USA) v Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukr) & Aleksandra Krunic (Ser)
Daniele Bracciali (Ita) & Andreas Seppi (Ita) v (3) Henri Kontinen (Fin) & John Peers (Aus)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) & Samantha Stosur (Aus) v (2) Andrea Sestini Hlavackova (Cze) & Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze)
Irina-Camelia Begu (Rom) & Qiang Wang (Chn) v (3) Andreja Klepac (Slo) & Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (Spa)
Leonardo Mayer (Arg) & Joao Sousa (Por) v (12) Feliciano Lopez (Spa) & Marc Lopez (Spa)
(4) Latisha Chan (Tpe) & Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) v Irina Bara (Rom) & Mihaela Buzarnescu (Rom)
(6) Barbora Krejcikova (Cze) & Katerina Siniakova (Cze) v Tatjana Maria (Ger) & Heather Watson (Gbr)
Abigail Spears (USA) & Juan Sebastian Cabal (Col) v (3) Yi Fan Xu (Chn) & Oliver Marach (Aut)
Camila Giorgi (Ita) v (10) Sloane Stephens (USA)
(11) Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (Arg) v Borna Coric (Cro)
(1) Simona Halep (Rom) v Andrea Petkovic (Ger)
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