Roberto Carballes Baena is through to his first-ever third-round appearance at the French Open after beating the number nine seed and Canadian Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian was coming off a four-set win over the Frenchman Gilles Simon while the Spaniard had beaten the American Steve Johnson. Neither player had reached the third round at Roland Garros before.
The match being the first scheduled on Suzanne Lenglen with the sun shining for the first time this week. Also, we did see a couple of fans show up due to the limit of 1000 fans per day imposed by the French government.
The opening set :
The 101 ranked player in the world came out the faster of the two players and managed to get two early breakpoints on the number nine seed opening service game but Shapovalov managed to save them. In the next game, the Canadian would hold serve winning the game with his trademark backhand winner.
The Tenerife native managed to get the first break of the match at 1-1 when he pulled off a down the line winner returning a drop shot to take an early 2-1 lead. The Tel-Aviv native would have a chance in the next game to break back to go on serve but the Spaniard did a good job-saving breakpoints.
The Canadian would eventually break back at 4-5 with Carballes Baena serving for the first set when he managed to get three breakpoints and would break to make it 5-5. The Granada resident would respond right away breaking the Bahamas resident in the very next game and serving it out to take the first 7-5.
The second set was almost identical to the first, as the 27-year-old would earn breakpoints on the very first service game from the 21-year-old, but the Canadian would save three straight breakpoints only to be broken on the fourth when the Spaniard would lob the ball over Shapovalov head to make it 1-0.
The Nassau, Bahamas resident would break right back in the next game when the Granada, Spain resident would send a forehand long to even the set at one. The match would stay on serve until 5-5 when once again the 101 ranked player in the world would break to take a 6-5 lead when Shapovalov sent a ball into the net.
The Canadian would break right back to force a second set tiebreak where once again at 5-5 the number nine seed would set up a set point by winning a point at the net with a huge smash. He would take the second set 7-6 once again making it the second straight match where he would have to play a minimum of four sets.
Carballes Baena had early break points again in the third set and would convert to take a 3-1 lead forcing the error from the Canadian. The rest of the set would remain on serve with Shapovalov trying to get the break back but the Spaniard was up to the task of saving them and would eventually serve it out to take the third 6-3.
The Canadian was at this point looking to force and a fifth and deciding set and got the first break opportunity at 2-1 and it took him three times to successfully break the Spaniard serve. Both players would end up holding serve with the Tenerife native having chances to break back but Shapovalov was up to the task of saving them.
He would eventually serve it out and take the fourth set 6-3 forcing the fifth set to decide the winner of the match.
The decider :
Shapovalov would have early breakpoints in the first game of the set but the Spaniard did a good job of saving it once more. The Canadian had another chance to break at 2-2 and it took him four break points to eventually get the break to take a 3-2 lead.
Both players would hold serve until 5-4 when the number nine seed was serving for the match and would eventually get broken giving Carballes Baena life at 5-5. Remember in the French Open there no tiebreakers in the fifth set and the match would continue till a player won by two.
Shapovalov would break right back to take a 6-5 lead and had a second chance to serve it out. Deja vu seemed to be the story of the match as the Spaniard would break once again to even the set at six. He would hold serve to force the Canadian to serve to stay in the match.
At 30-40 Carballes Baena had a match point and he would make good on it as Shapovalov would come to the net and try to hit a volley winner but it would sail wide.
Roberto Carballes Baena will now face Grigor Dimitrov in the third round of the French Open.