French Open 2023: Coco Gauff wins after waiting out marathon; Alcaraz, Djokovic on court Friday

Coco Gauff of the U.S. plays a shot against Austria's Julia Grabher during their second round match Thursday in Paris. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

PARIS (AP) — Coco Gauff thought she was about to head out on the court to play her second-round match at the French Open.

“I was probably about 70% done with my warmup,” last year’s runner-up at Roland Garros would say later.


Made sense: In the contest preceding hers in Court Suzanne Lenglen on Thursday, No. 8 seed Jannik Sinner was serving for the victory while up 5-4 in the fourth set against Daniel Altmaier. Then Sinner was one point away. Except he couldn’t convert that match point — he had a chance for a putaway overhead, and instead basically sent the ball right at Altmaier, whose forehand in response hit the top of the net tape and fluttered past Sinner — or another that arrived soon after.

They would play on for another 1 hour, 43 minutes, until Altmaier finally cashed in his own fifth match point with a 111 mph ace down the middle to seal the 6-7 (0), 7-6 (7), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 victory.

“A great turnaround,” said Altmaier, who cried and cried after the nearly 5 1/2-hour marathon. “The emotions were crazy.”

So how did Gauff whittle away the time?

Watching Sinner vs. Altmaier, for one thing. Snacking, for another. And, well, resting.

“I almost fell asleep in the middle of the fifth,” Gauff said. “I was like, ‘I wish I could see the future, because I probably would have taken a nap in the fourth.”

After the delay, the 19-year-old American ended up beating Julia Grabher 6-2, 6-3 in 1 hour, 8 minutes. Next for Gauff will be a third-round matchup on Saturday against 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva of Russia.

Who plays Friday?

Court Philippe Chatrier will feature some of the sport’s top players as the third round wraps up: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula. Over on Lenglen, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, the French Open runner-up in 2021, faces Diego Schwartzman, while No. 7 Andrey Rublev plays Lorenzo Sonego. Peyton Stearns will try to knock off Daria Kasatkina, a semifinalist a year ago.

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