By Niall Clarke
- Aljaz Bedene defeats Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (4), 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-2
- He will face Novak Djokovic or Steve Darcis in round three
PARIS, FRANCE- Aljaz Bedene is through to the third round of the French Open after an epic five set victory over Pablo Carreno Busta.
There’s something about British players and five set thrillers at Roland Garros. Andy Murray had another one yesterday and now it was Bedene’s turn to go the distance.
Despite taking the opening two sets, Bedene was pegged back by his gritty Spanish opponent and the match went to a decider. The Brit picked up his level again in the fifth to book his place in the third round of a grand slam for the first time.
The British number two did not get off to the best of starts as he was broken in the opening game. Bedene managed to get the break back however and saved more break points at 3-3. A close opening set ultimately went to a tiebreaker where the 26 year old took control. He stormed to the first five points in the breaker and then took it 7-4.
The momentum carried into the second set where the Brit claimed a double break to see it out 6-3. Carreno-Busta upped his aggression at the start of the third to earn a break of his own and get himself back into the match at two sets to one.
A tight fourth set saw many breaks of serve. The Spanish player had a chance to serve it out at 5-4 but failed to do so. He recollected himself to break again and win the set at the second time of asking.
It was on to a fifth set and Bedene managed to shift the momentum back into his favour as Carreno Busta struggled. A break at 3-2 was followed by another at 5-2 which sealed the deal for the Brit who moves into his first grand slam third round.
It was a fine performance from Bedene who served over 20 aces. He played aggressive all court tennis to overcome a fine clay courter in Carreno Busta. The third round will be a mammoth task if it is the expected opponent, but his victories here will do wonders for his confidence which was low coming in.
Djokovic next for Bedene
Bedene’s reward for his efforts is the daunting prospect of facing the world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Djokovic, still in search for his first French Open title, overcame a tough test from Steve Darcis on Suzanne Lenglen to win 7-5, 6-3, . The Serbian seemed agitated and did not play his best tennis, but managed to pull through in straight sets. Maybe it is the pressure he puts on himself to complete the career grand slam, but Djokovic did not play to his usual standards though it must be said Darcis played well.
It seems likes an insurmountable task for the Brit to overcome the best player in the world, but it could turn out to be a valuable experience for the 26 year old. It is one of the biggest matches of his career against one of the greatest ever on a big court. With little to no pressure, Bedene should be able to swing freely and have a go at taking it to Djokovic.
Their only previous meeting at the Australian Open last year was a straight forward victory for the world number one, hopefully this one will be much close.
The French Open continues on Friday May 27th.
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