Carlos Alcaraz continues to entertain at the French Open – Sports

The thrill of Carlos Alcaraz's game lies in his boyhood – he entertains himself by playing like an over-sugared child with how sharp an angle he can approach a ball and still put it over the net. For the same reason, playing him must feel like torture or cosmic injustice. Every shot feels like a test, but more often than not, the ball goes in.

Sebastian Korda was the latest victim as Alcaraz's joyride continued in the fourth round at the French Open in Paris on Friday. The No. 3 seed defeated Korda, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, in a fun, fuzzy game with such great shots from both sides they wanted you on your feet. Alcaraz pumped his fist and looked at his team in the stands after each one.

He finished with 38 winners in 20 of Corder, including 17 forehand side stickers.

Entering the tournament, Alcaraz said the right hand injury that derailed his clay-court season before the French Open was in tiptop shape. But he was still thinking about it and still hadn't been able to hit a forehand with abandon — until Friday, when Korda's gutsy game was just the right kind of distraction.

“Today, I think, was a more demanding match for me,” Alcaraz said. “At some point I forget everything and I usually hit the forehand, let's say.”

With the win, Alcaraz is set to face either 15th-seeded Ben Shelton of Florida or 21st-seeded Felix Auger-Aliasim of Canada, whose third-round match was postponed due to rain that wreaked further havoc on Friday's schedule. It will resume on Saturday with Auger-Aliassime serving for the first set up 5-4.

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Alcaraz, the 21-year-old two-time Grand Slam champion, had no such problem, playing all his matches under a roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier, one of only two courts at Roland Garros with a retractable cover. He dropped just one set to Jesper de Jong in his second-round match – and is one of a handful of contenders in what is considered the widest-open men's draw in nearly 20 years.

It's early, but only the top men's seeds have fallen. Sixth-seeded Andrei Rublev lost to Matteo Arnaldi 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, 6-4 on Friday, leaving him with 37 unforced errors, four double faults and what must have been a blow. He kneels after repeatedly crushing his racket against it in frustration.

Rubelov was one to watch in Paris, winning the Madrid Open on clay earlier in May. Instead, Arnaldi will face ninth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Zhang Zhizhen 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 on Friday.

“When it comes to battle, he will fight and he won't give up,” Tsitsipas said of the 35th-ranked Arnaldi. “… there are certain profiles of players that you might notice more and others not so much, let's say. They are a little more passive. He really gets into the game and it's something that I must approach carefully and build around, find my ways around it. It is almost like a river. You have to find ways around it and reroute and figure it out.”

The top of the women's draw saw a touch more upside, with second-seeded American Peyton Stearns beating 10th-seeded Doria Kasatkina on Thursday, as well as ninth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko and 11th-seeded Danielle Collins.

But top seed Iga Svitek needed just 1 hour 33 minutes to win over Mari Bozkova, 6-4, 6-2, and fifth seed Marketa Vondrosova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, advanced alongside. Third-seeded Coco Gough's third-round victory over 30th-seeded Diana Yastremska brought a little more drama for the reigning US Open champion.

After leading 5-2 in the second set, Goff recovered to win 6-2, 6-4.

“I was just trying to remind myself that I was in a good position,” Goff said later. “I had a set up and double break, so I had to remind myself of that. Sometimes when those moments happen and you want to end the match so quickly, you can let things triple. … I just try to remind myself of the position of the match.”

The 20-year-old reached the French Open final in 2022 and has yet to drop a set in Paris this year, leaving plenty of time to keep up with the cultural activities, including a tribute from Los Angeles Sparks rookie Cameron Brink.

Ahead of the Sparks' marquee match against Caitlin Clarke and the Indiana Fever on Wednesday, Brink wore a tennis-inspired outfit and quipped, “I want to be like Coco.” (They are both signed to New Balance).

“I haven't had a chance to meet Cameron yet but obviously watched her a lot when she was at Stanford, and now it's great to see her in the WNBA, and I definitely want to try to catch a game,” Goff said. “A few players I would like to see. I wasn't expecting it, and it was very nice of her. I think he fits better than anyone. Yes, I hope one day maybe – New Balance is my team. I hope they give him a signature shoe one day and I can rock it for my press events as well.”

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