French Open day four: Not to be for dream team Venus Williams and Coco Gauff and more press drama

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Serena Williams needed three sets to make it past Mihaela Buzarnescu and into the third round of the French Open.

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated fellow Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich but another top-10 seed went out with Belinda Bencic beaten by Daria Kasatkina.

The leading men’s hopes in the bottom half of the draw all made it through relatively comfortably, with Daniil Medvedev beating Tommy Paul, Stefanos Tsitsipas seeing off Pedro Martinez and Alexander Zverev defeating Roman Safiullin.

Picture of the day

Venus Williams and Coco Gauff playing doubles

Doubles partners Venus Williams and Coco Gauff bump fists during their first-round loss (Michel Euler/AP)


The 40-year-old Williams and 17-year-old Gauff went down in three sets against 13th seeds Zheng Saisai and Ellen Perez.

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More press drama

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Press conferences have rarely had so much attention as the past week in Paris and on Wednesday came the news that Yorkshire radio reporter Jonathan Pinfield, who became something of a celebrity after his distinctive accent attracted the attention of Zverev at Roland Garros in 2018, had had his accreditation revoked.

Pinfield, known for left-field questions that amuse and baffle players in equal measure, decided to dial into Zverev’s press conference from a supermarket. This was a step too far for beleaguered French Open organisers but, after the reporter apologised, they had a change of heart and reinstated him.

Brits get ready for grass

With the French Open moving back a week, the second week will coincide with the return for the first time since 2019 of the British grass-court season. Nottingham hosts a WTA event, and Harriet Dart, Fran Jones and Katie Boulter have been given wildcards, joining Johanna Konta and Heather Watson in the main draw. Andy Murray will play in the men’s Challenger tournament.

Fallen seeds

Women: Belinda Bencic (10), Veronika Kudermetova (29)
Men: Roberto Bautista Agut (11), Karen Khachanov (23)

Who’s up next?

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are all in action on a packed day of action at Roland Garros.

Nadal, who celebrates his 35th birthday on Thursday, gets his night session against French favourite Richard Gasquet while Federer is also on Chatrier taking on old foe Marin Cilic and Djokovic heads out to Suzanne Lenglen for a clash with Pablo Cuevas.

Women’s No 1 Ashleigh Barty has concerns over a thigh issue but will hope to find a way past Magda Linette, defending champion Iga Swiatek faces Rebecca Peterson and Britain’s last remaining singles hope, Cameron Norrie, meets South African Lloyd Harris.

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