Ailing Elena Rybakina withdraws from French Open
World number four Elena Rybakina withdrew from the French Open on Saturday due to illness, handing a significant and unexpected title boost to defending champion Iga Swiatek.
Rybakina, who had swept into the last 32 without dropping a set, was due to face Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain in the third round. However, she withdrew due to illness, citing a fever, headache, and difficulty breathing.
The Russian-born Kazakh was seen as a potential champion having arrived at Roland Garros with the prestigious Italian Open clay court title under her belt. She had been seeded to face two-time champion Swiatek in the semifinals.
Rybakina said she will focus on recovery ahead of defending her title at Wimbledon which gets underway on July 3.
“The plan was to play Berlin, Eastbourne, and Wimbledon. There are not many tournaments on grass, but the most important thing is to get healthy again,” she said.
Sorribes Tormo, ranked 132 in the world, will now face either Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia or Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia for a place in the quarter-finals.
Swiatek, Zhang, Andreeva, and Rune all in action on Saturday
Later Saturday, world number one Swiatek takes on China’s 80th-ranked Wang Xinyu for a place in the last 16 as she continues her bid to become the first back-to-back champion since Justine Henin in 2007.
Zhang Zhizhen, the first Chinese man to make the third round of the French Open since 1936, meets world number four and last year’s runner-up Casper Ruud.
Russian 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, the breakout star of Roland Garros, faces 2022 runner-up and sixth-ranked Coco Gauff for a place in the fourth round.
And Holger Rune, who reached the quarter-finals on his debut in 2022, takes on Argentina’s Genaro Alberto Olivieri.
Olivieri dedicates third-round run to late father
The 231st-ranked Argentine has dedicated his run to the third round to his father who passed away during the pandemic.
“He was my sidekick, the person who helped me in every way — psychologically, emotionally,” said the 24-year-old.
“I always remember him. I hope he is now watching everything that is happening to me this week and that he has even bigger smile than I do.”