Novak Djokovic hopes to have his visa reinstated so he can return to feature at the Australian Open following a change of government Down Under.

Djokovic eased to a 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory over Aljaz Bedene at the French Open on Friday to set up a last-16 clash with Diego Schwartzman.

The world number one remains on course to meet record 21-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, in what is the Serbian's first major of the year.

Djokovic was banned from playing at the Australian Open in Melbourne and was deported from the country due to his unvaccinated COVID-19 status in January.

The 34-year-old cannot be granted another visa for three years due to Australia's immigration laws, but former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously suggested he could be allowed entry sooner under the "right circumstances".

Djokovic hopes the arrival of new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will boost his visa-related hopes of featuring in Melbourne at the start of 2023.

"In terms of the government, yes, I heard the news, but, I mean, I don't know anything about whether my visa is going to be reinstated or whether I'm going to be allowed to come back to Australia," he told reporters.

"I would like to. I would like to go there and play Australian Open. I don't hold any grudges. Look, you know, it was what it was.

"If I have an opportunity to go back to Australia and play a place where I made the biggest success in my career in Grand Slams, I would love to come back."

As for the next clash with Schwartzman as Djokovic aims to equal Nadal's 21 grand slams, the Serbian is expecting a tough test in Paris.

"Well, he's one of the quickest players we have on tour, and his best results in his career came on clay, so of course he's a tough opponent without a doubt," he added. 

"I know him well. We played some really good matches on different surfaces. So playing against him, you always have to expect another ball coming back. I'm ready for the physical battle.

"I haven't spent too much time on the court. I have been striking the ball really well, so I look forward to that challenge."

Angelique Kerber crashed out at the third round of the French Open as Aliaksandra Sasnovich claimed another scalp on Friday.

Three-time grand slam winner Kerber headed to Paris as the 21st seed but in good form after victory at the Internationaux de Strasbourg last week.

Kerber, whose last major title came at Wimbledon in 2018, made it seven straight clay-court wins for the first time in her professional career after defeating Elsa Jacquemot on Wednesday at Roland Garros.

However, Sasnovich – who defeated US Open winner Emma Raducanu in the previous round – proved a step too far for 21st seed Kerber, who fell to a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) loss on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

World number 47 Sasnovich next faces Italy's Martina Trevisan, whose best result at a grand slam was the quarter-finals at this competition two years ago.

Trevisan became the first Italian female player to win eight or more matches in a row since Francesca Schiavone in 2017 by defeating Daria Saville 6-3 6-4 in the third round.

Meanwhile, American teenager Coco Gauff negotiated past Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-4 to tee up a fourth-round clash with 31st seed Elise Mertens, who was a 6-2 6-3 winner over Varvara Gracheva.

Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 at the French Open as he cruised to a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday.

Nadal breezed past Jordan Thompson and Corentin Moutet to reach the third round, where the Spaniard had few difficulties on Court Suzanne-Lenglen against world number 29 Van de Zandschulp.

The pair exchanged breaks to begin the match, but the 13-time winner at Roland Garros soon took control as he only lost four points on his service in the first set, all of which came in the first game.

Van de Zandschulp continued to struggle in the second set as Nadal triumphed in a lengthy third game to break again, before following suit in the Dutchman's next service to further his advantage en route to taking a two-set lead.

World number five Nadal again opened the third set by battling to break Van de Zandschulp twice and had the opportunity to go 5-0 up with points in hand.

The Dutchman fought back to win three straight games before claiming another, leaving the set finely poised at 5-4 to Nadal.

However, the 35-year-old Nadal regained his composure to wrap up victory and will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who defeated Filip Krajinovic.

Data Slam: Nadal on course for Djokovic meeting

Only Novak Djokovic (325) and Roger Federer (369) have more grand slam match wins than Nadal (301), who remains on course to meet the world number one in the quarter-final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 25/13
Van de Zandschulp – 19/31

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 2/1
Van de Zandschulp – 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/12
Van de Zandschulp – 2/3

Novak Djokovic cruised to a straight-sets win over Aljaz Bedene in the third round of the French Open, beating the Slovenian 6-3 6-3 6-2 to set up a last-16 clash with Diego Schwartzman.

Serbian star Djokovic, who is bidding to become the first player other than Rafael Nadal to win consecutive men's singles titles at Roland Garros since Gustavo Kuerten triumphed in 2000 and 2001, produced a ruthless display to blow away world number 195 Bedene in just one hour and 44 minutes.

Djokovic started as he meant to go on, launching an onslaught which forced Bedene to save five break points throughout his first two service games, before the Slovenian finally succumbed to a break in his third.

The top seed was virtually perfect on his own serve, winning 94 per cent of points on first serve in the opening set before picking up another decisive break just three games into the second.

Despite appearing to struggle with the glare at times on a sun-bathed Court Philippe-Chatrier, Djokovic continued his professional display to move closer to victory, recording just three unforced errors to his opponent's 13 in the second set.

To the delight of some in the crowd, Bedene forced his first and only break point of the encounter in the opening game of the third set, only for Djokovic to power a fierce volley past the 32-year-old before recovering to hold serve.

The world number one did not look back from there, breaking to love in the fourth game before wrapping up a routine win after forcing two match points on Bedene's serve to set up a seventh career meeting with Schwartzman, against whom he boasts a 100 per cent record.

Data Slam: Dominant Djokovic wraps up another straight-sets win

The world number one looks to be hitting form at the perfect time after a troubled start to the year: Djokovic has won 19 straight sets of tennis since the start of the Internazionale d'Italia earlier this month, recording a series of perfect displays since his Madrid Open final loss to Carlos Alcaraz.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic 30/18
Bedene 23/37

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic 9/1
Bedene 4/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic 5/11
Bedene 0/1

Irina-Camelia Begu issued an apology after a racquet she threw into the ground bounced into the crowd and struck a child at the French Open.

The Romanian was playing in a second-round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova and was down a break in the third set when the incident happened.

The match was suspended as the young boy, who was sitting near the umpire's chair, was left in tears and being comforted by his parents.

Begu was issued a warning but avoided a default and went on to win the match 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4.

She later posed for pictures with the boy and said sorry for her moment of frustration at a post-match news conference.

"Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me, so I don't want to talk too much about it. I just want to apologise," she said.

"My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

"It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racquet. You hit the clay with the racquet, but you never expect [it] to fly that much."

A statement circulated by the French Tennis Federation from tournament referee Remy Azemar said: "The grand slam supervisor spoke with the parents who were with the child. The parents confirmed that the child was fine and not injured."

It said the racquet had "brushed a young spectator".

The incident was reminiscent of the 2020 US Open when men's world number one Novak Djokovic was defaulted when a ball he struck in anger hit a line judge.

Begu faces local favourite Leolia Jeanjean in round three.

Stefanos Tsitsipas called Zdenek Kolar a "complete player", despite ultimately defeating his Czech opponent in the second round of the French Open.

Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each before the number four seed finally secured victory with another tie-break in the fourth set, sealing it 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7).

Kolar is ranked 134th in the world but looked every bit a threat to Tsitsipas on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent).

Speaking at a news conference after his win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

"It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

"He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

"I guess both today," he said. "I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not overexaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

"Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer after the Swede beat 29th seed Dan Evans on Thursday.

Ekaterina Alexandrova said the "rules were against" her after she lost to Irina-Camelia Begu at the French Open, where her Romanian opponent accidentally hit a child in the crowd with her racket.

The incident occurred in the third set of the second round match on Thursday, with Begu slamming her racket in frustration after a lost point, inadvertently bouncing it off the court's surface and into the crowd, where it struck the youngster.

Begu has since apologised, calling it "embarrassing".

There was a short break in play as officials and supervisors checked on the crying child, before ultimately deciding to give Begu a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Once play resumed, Begu immediately broke Alexandrova's serve, and won six of the next eight games to seal a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4 victory.

In an Instagram post after her loss, Alexandrova expressed her disappointment, suggesting the rules had been against her.

"So disappointed to leave [Roland Garros] like that, I was trying to do my best, but seems like the rules were against me today," she wrote. "This shouldn't be happening. 

"I hope after today's match rules will be improved for everyone's safety. We are responsible for our racket."

Speaking to the media after her win, Begu was apologetic for her actions.

"Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me. I just want to apologise," she said. "My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. 

"So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

She added: "It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racket, you know. 

"You hit the clay with the racket, but you never expect [it] to fly that much. 

"It was, as I said, embarrassing moment for me, and I just want to end it and not talk about it."

Former world number one Simona Halep says she suffered a panic attack during her second round match with Zheng Qinwen, contributing to her early French Open exit.

The 2018 Roland Garros champion became the latest big name to make a shock departure from Paris inside the first week after blowing a first set lead to lose 2-6 6-2 6-1.

It marked a major scalp for the unseeded Zhang, who previously lost to Halep in January, and was arguably the biggest win of the Chinese teenager's career at her competition debut.

But Halep, who looked to be in cruise control early on, revealed she suffered an unexpected setback that threw her rhythm in her post-match comments, though she has now recovered.

"I was playing well at the start," she stated. "I had a break in the second set, but then something happened. I just lost it.

"It was just a panic attack. I didn't know how to handle it, because I don't have [them] often. I don't really know why it happened, because I was leading the match. I was playing well

"After the match, [it] was pretty tough.  But now I'm good. I'm recovered, and I will learn from this episode. It's good that now I can smile."

On her overall time at Roland Garros, Halep admitted she was happy to come through it unscathed, adding: "Tomorrow is a new day. 

"I know it's like a cliche, but it's a new day, and I'll wake up motivated to keep working. [I've] no injury, which is really good. Now I'm in a good place."

Only the understandable media attention is allowing Iga Swiatek to keep count of her incredible winning run that reached 30 matches on Thursday.

The world number one sealed her place in the third round of the French Open after a dominant 6-0 6-2 win against Alison Riske.

That victory made her just the fourth WTA Tour player this century to win 30 or more consecutive matches. She has also taken 46 of the past 47 sets she has played.

Speaking at a news conference following her milestone win, Swiatek insisted she does not follow the numbers – although she has no need to while her streak remains the focus of journalists.

"I know how many matches I have won in a row because you keep reminding me, basically," she said. "But I don't keep track.

"I'm not like noting or something. I just try to come back to these matches to get experience from them. But that's the only reason why I come back to them."

Swiatek was asked to explain what had inspired her imperious form, with her 39 match victories in 2022 already three more than she managed in the whole of 2021.

"I think basically I changed some things, like I started being more aggressive and trying to be more proactive on court," she replied. "That's something that my coach really helped me to do.

"But also, I think all the work we have been doing, even last season, it finally clicked somehow.

"You know, last season it was a year for me where I really gained so much experience. This year I feel like I'm using it the right way. I have this experience already, and I can just move forward.

"So I think it's the physical work I have been doing but also with my psychologist, I think it's the work of the whole team as well. I'm pretty glad that it clicks right now."

The 20-year-old conceded her form will not last forever, but she is determined to enjoy it while it lasts.

"I was saying from the beginning that for sure I'm going to reach a point where I'm going to lose a match, and it's pretty normal, you know," Swiatek said. "I have been losing matches in tennis for a long time.

"For sure, the things we are doing right now are pretty extraordinary, but I know in tennis that only one person wins at the end. I will be okay with that.

"For sure, it's not fun to lose, but I think it wouldn't be different than any other loss that I had in my career."

Daniil Medvedev is outgrowing his phobia of spiders while learning how to handle his tennis fears as he targets a long run at the French Open.

The popular Russian made pain-free progress past Serbian Laslo Djere on Thursday, winning 6-3 6-4 6-3 to set up a third-round clash with Miomir Kecmanovic.

He spoke afterwards about the difficulties of staying informed about off-court matters, particularly whether there could be twists to come surrounding Wimbledon's ban of Russian and Belarusian players this year.

Medvedev is keen to keep his focus on what happens on court, and while tennis may stoke up emotions, such as when the world number two was cut up by his defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, he is determined to develop mechanisms to deal with trauma.

"I think fear is one of the toughest emotions in people's lives, because a lot of mistakes we do in life are because we are scared of something," Medvedev said.

"That's how I think. And yeah, I'm a little bit scared of spiders, but I need to say I was much more scared when I was 10 or 12.

"When you grow up you need to sometimes face your fears. I never saw a tarantula, so I think I'm going to be scared if I see one. I'm not scared any more of small spiders.

"Fear is actually what we can feel every day in tennis. You're scared to lose. Sometimes you are scared what people are going to think about you.

"For example, I was number one in the world for two weeks, if I'm not mistaken. I'm not scared if people are going to say, 'Well, yeah, it doesn't matter, you were only two weeks'.

"But you can be scared of this. I think in every sport, especially the higher you get, the more you can have this situation.

"I try to work hard on not being scared of anything and just learning, even if I do mistakes, not being scared to repeat them but try not to repeat them.

"To be honest, I'm not scared of much right now in my life."

Former world number one Simona Halep is out of the French Open after crumbling from a one-set lead against Zheng Qinwen in the second round on Thursday.

The 2018 Roland Garros champion, the most experienced player in the draw at this year's competition, fell to a 2-6 6-2 6-1 loss against her unseeded opponent.

Halep, who is now coached by Serena Williams' former coach Patrick Mouratoglou, is the latest big name to suffer an early exit on clay this year.

The 30-year-old, who fought off a comeback from lucky loser Nastasja Schunk on Tuesday, looked to be cruising after the first set.

But Halep failed to navigate a fiery response from Zheng, who blazed through the second set to tie things up before an impressive rout in the third in her first appearance in Paris.

It marks revenge for the teenager as well, having fallen to Halep at the semi-final stage of the Melbourne Summer Set 1 earlier this year.

It continues a mixed 2022 for the Romanian so far, whose best finishes were victory in Victoria, followed by reaching the final four at the Dubai Tennis Championships and Indian Wells Masters.

Zheng will now face either 13th seed Jelena Ostapenko or France's Alize Cornet in the third round, with the pair set to play later on Thursday.

Iga Swiatek again showed relentless form to ease past Alison Riske and book her place in the third round of the French Open on Thursday.

The number one seed stormed to a 6-0 6-2 victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, and will now face Danka Kovinic – the latest woman to attempt to halt the WTA Tour's winning machine.

Chasing her 30th straight win, there was an ominous start from Swiatek, who sealed the first set in just 20 minutes as Riske won just seven points.

Swiatek was ruthless as she sped through the games, winning all three break points against Riske to get halfway to victory in double quick time.

The American tried to fight back at the start of the second, but Swiatek seemed to move up a gear every time her opponent was able to win a point, breaking again in the second game.

Riske reached deuce in the next game, before finally holding serve to get herself on the board to a big cheer from the crowd.

The world number 43 showed more fight as she held serve again, but Swiatek's power and shot placement was ultimately too much as she motored to victory.

The 2020 champion has now won 39 matches this year (including Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers), three more than her tally for the entire 2021 season.

Data Slam: Dominant Swiatek

Swiatek's win here makes her just the fourth player this century to win 30 or more consecutive matches. She also won 85 per cent of points on her first serve (22 of 26) and did not face any break points.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Swiatek – 23/15
Riske – 6/14

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Swiatek – 1/1
Riske – 2/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Swiatek – 5/9
Riske – 0/0

Leolia Jeanjean became the lowest-ranked woman to beat a top-10 player at the French Open since 1988 as the world number 227 stunned Karolina Pliskova on Thursday.

French player Jeanjean was a promising youngster whose career looked to have been scuppered by knee trouble, but at the age of 26 she is making her grand slam debut in Paris and is through to the third round.

On Court Simonne-Mathieu, she crushed last year's Wimbledon runner-up Pliskova 6-2 6-2, surprising herself with the way she brushed off the eighth-seeded Czech.

It made Jeanjean the lowest-ranked woman to beat a top-10 opponent at Roland Garros since a 16-year-old Conchita Martinez upset ninth seed Lori McNeil at the 1988 tournament.

The then little-known Martinez would go on to win Wimbledon in 1994 and reach number two in the world.

As a teenager, Jeanjean reached 676th in the world in 2013, but she had slumped to 1,180th by November 2020. A once-promising career looked set to end with Jeanjean sliding into obscurity, but she thrilled the Roland Garros crowds with her dismantling of Pliskova.

Mixing her studies in finance with college tennis at Lynn University and the University of Arkansas has helped Jeanjean climb inside the top 250 on the WTA Tour, and her big-stage breakthrough has finally arrived in her homeland.

"I'm very, very happy," she said. "What's happening right now is something I never imagined before. When I stopped playing for four to five years I never imagined I'd be in the third round of a grand slam.

"The fact I never gave up and always believed in myself is probably why I'm here today. Now I'm 26, and it's my first grand slam. I thought I would have lost in the first round in two sets and I find myself beating a top-10 player.

"I don't know how it's possible that it's happening."

It was after Jeanjean sustained her knee injury that she chose to go down the US college route with her career, knowing many tennis stars have come through the system.

"I wanted to give myself another chance," she said.

Pliskova lost on clay to a player from outside the WTA top 200 for the first time since going down to Arina Rodionova in qualifiers for a tournament in Fes, Morocco, more than 10 years ago. Irina-Camelia Begu awaits Jeanjean in the third round.

Pliskova's exit was the latest in a string of shocks which have meant that for the first time at Roland Garros, six or more of the top 10 seeds have been eliminated in the first two rounds. She joined Barbora Krejcikova, Maria Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit, Ons Jabeur and Garbine Muguruza on that list of casualties.

The 30-year-old Pliskova said Jeanjean's variety made her an awkward opponent, and suggested the courts played slowly.

"I think this court is a bit too brutal,," Pliskova said during a news conference. "My serve was not working. I don't have a horrible feeling but, of course, like you lose, so of course I'm not happy about it, but I just want to give credit to her, I think she played a great match."

World number one Novak Djokovic highlighted the joy of having fans back in full attendance after he collected his second consecutive straight sets win to advance to the third round of the French Open, beating Alex Molcan 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

In his first-round fixture against Yoshihito Nishioka, Djokovic won 55 per cent of the total points in the first set, and increased that number in the second and third.

This time, however, it was Molcan who was slowly improving as the match wore on, as Djokovic won 70 per cent of the first-set points, 57 per cent in the second and 53 per cent as he was taken to a tie-breaker in the third.

Speaking to the media after his win, the Serbian star said he feels in good touch, and gave credit to his "tricky opponent".

"I'm pleased with the way I'm feeling on the court [and] the way I’ve been striking the ball," he said.

"I think today was also under challenging conditions and playing against a specialist on clay, someone that is a tricky opponent and coming off from the [Lyon] final last week. 

"It was never going to be an easy match, but I thought I performed very well."

He went on to discuss how energising it is to have a full crowd after there was a limited capacity for his 2021 triumph.

"It's great to see the crowd back [and] the full capacity on all courts," he said. "Lots of young people, lots of kids, this is something that I really love to see.

"It always gives you energy. For me at this stage of my career, a crowd and this energy of people coming to watch me play is one of the biggest reasons why I keep on competing [and] playing professional tennis."

Djokovic will play Slovakian Aljaz Bedene in the third round, and despite being aware of his collision course with Rafael Nadal set for the quarter-finals, he said looking ahead that far serves little purpose.

"You are aware what's going on with the other guys, at least in my case, and I know that everyone else is watching everybody else," he said.

"[But] that cannot be dominating most of your time and energy that you invest in a day. 

"So you are aware, but then of course it's really not up to you what they do. It's what you have to do, win matches and make good results."

Carlos Alcaraz kept the nerves at bay when facing match point against Albert Ramos-Vinolas by forgetting that he was playing at the French Open.

The sixth seed saved match point in the fourth set and rallied from 0-3 in the fifth set to complete a 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 success on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

Teenager Alcaraz enjoyed an emphatic start against his fellow Spaniard, but the experienced Ramos-Vinolas showed admirable poise to take the second and third sets in Paris on Wednesday.

Ramos-Vinolas' ability to fight off break points – coupled with Alcaraz's lack of ruthlessness – gave him the upper hand, and he came within one point of knocking out the Madrid Open champion.

But he crumbled on his own serve at 5-4 in the fourth, and from there Alcaraz's greater mobility and relentlessness when chasing seemingly lost causes had the 19-year-old looking the favourite.

Eventually he came out on top after the longest match of his fledgling career at four hours and 34 minutes, setting up a third-round clash with Sebastian Korda.

"You always have nerves in the match, but I think today I wasn't nervous," said Alcaraz.

"Just maybe at the end of the fourth when I had the match point [to save]. I maybe thought I was one point away from losing, but just try not to think that I'm in the French Open.

"I'm trying to enjoy the moment. I think that in the fourth set, and in the fifth, I smile with my team.

"I enjoy the battles. I want to play big battles and tough battles against the best players in the world."

Alcaraz was won four titles this year, including success at two ATP 1000 events, and feels at home playing on the show courts.

"I'm still young, but I would say pretty experienced player now," said Alcaraz.

"I feel comfortable playing in big stadiums, big matches, playing in grand slams. Physically. I'm strong. Mentally, I'm strong as well.

"I think I'm ready to play these kinds of matches in these situations, these tournaments. I'm ready."

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