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French Open: Title contender Rybakina marches into third round

IMAGES from Day 5 of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Thursday.

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina booked her third round spot with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over rising Czech teenager Linda Noskova on Thursday, confirming her status as one of the front-runners for the title.

The Wimbledon champion, who also reached this year’s Australian Open final, did not take long to pull away with a break in the third game when Noskova, ranked 50th, fired a backhand into the net.

But the 18-year-old, no stranger to the Paris clay after winning the French Open junior title two years, refused to go down without a fight but paid the price for some risky plays and a double fault on her serve at 40-40 and 5-3 down.

Rybakina, a member of the new ‘Big three’ along with fellow title contenders, world number one Iga Swiatek and second seed Aryna Sabalenka, struggled with Noskova’s powerful serve and thundering forehand.

It was instead Noskova who carved out two break points at 3-3 but Rybakina, who won the title at Indian Wells and Rome this season while also reaching the final at the Miami Open, saved them both.

She responded in kind at the very next game to break Noskova and go 5-3 up before clinching the match with an ace on her fourth match point.

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