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Felix Auger-Aliassime reaches 4th round of French Open

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime is moving on to the fourth round of the French Open.

The Montreal native beat No.15-seeded American Ben Shelton 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday after their match was interrupted by rain on Friday evening.

The 21st-seeded Auger-Aliassime, has never reached the quarterfinals here, and must get past two-time major winner Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.

Shelton compared himself to a Major League Baseball left-hander after a painful shoulder prevented him from playing his best.

“Felix just played way too well today. Even if I didn’t have whatever I had going on, it would have been a tough one to get through, with the way he was playing,” said Shelton, a 21-year-old  who reached the U.S. Open semifinals and Australian Open quarterfinals last year.

“I just feel like a pitcher who’s thrown too many pitches, way over his pitch count,” he said. “A lot of rain delays. A lot of on and off. Everybody’s dealing with it, not just me.”

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime beats Shelton at French Open:

Felix Auger-Aliassime keeps rolling at the French Open

In a match that was suspended Friday due to rain, Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime came into Saturday with a dominant performance over American Ben Shelton 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round at Roland-Garros.

It was clear during the restart of his match that Shelton was not able to produce his usual high-powered serves — even before his left shoulder was massaged by a trainer. Auger-Aliassime claimed Saturday’s initial five games to close out the opening set and lead 4-0 in the next.

“I felt like my intentions were clear, and my execution was right, and I was able to do what I wanted to do,” Auger-Aliassime said, “and at the same time, get free points from his side and able to return his serve pretty well.”

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Fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., also had his third-round match on Friday pushed to Saturday due to rain delays.

Shapovalov trailed No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-3, 7-6 (0), 2-1 before the match was suspended. Down 4-3 in the first set, Shapovalov failed to break Hurkacz and smashed his racket over his head twice in frustration after missing two chances at the net.

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., is scheduled to face No. 12 seed Jasmine Paolini of Italy on Saturday.

Rybakina, Sabalenka advance

Grand Slam winners Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka reached the fourth round of the French Open in straight sets on Saturday.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina, seeded fourth, beat Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-4, 6-2. Two-time Australian Open champion Sabalenka followed her on Court Philippe Chatrier and won 7-5, 6-1 against Paula Badosa.

“It’s tough to play your best friend,” Sabalenka said.

It certainly was for a while.

After trailing 5-3 in the first set, Sabalenka won eight straight games to take complete control.

“I was just feeling myself and trusting my shots,” Sabalenka said.

The former No. 1-ranked Sabalenka’s best performance at Roland Garros is reaching the semifinals while Rybakina — the only player from Kazakhstan to win a major title — has one quarterfinal appearance here.

Rybakina dropped her serve in the seventh game of the first set but broke straight back to tie her match at 4-4.

Russian-born Varvara Gracheva of France advanced to the fourth round of a major for the first time after downing Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5, 6-3.

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Later Saturday, defending champion Novak Djokovic faced No. 30 seed Lorenzo Musetti in a rematch from 2021, when Musetti won the first two sets before retiring in the fifth.

No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev, who won the Italian Open last month, plays 26th-seeded Tallon Griekspoor.

For the fifth consecutive day, rain interrupted play.

At around 1 p.m. local time, rain fell again, with a chilly wind and an unappealing temperature of 14 C.

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