Angelique Kerber crashed out at the third round of the French Open as Aliaksandra Sasnovich claimed another scalp on Friday.

Three-time grand slam winner Kerber headed to Paris as the 21st seed but in good form after victory at the Internationaux de Strasbourg last week.

Kerber, whose last major title came at Wimbledon in 2018, made it seven straight clay-court wins for the first time in her professional career after defeating Elsa Jacquemot on Wednesday at Roland Garros.

However, Sasnovich – who defeated US Open winner Emma Raducanu in the previous round – proved a step too far for 21st seed Kerber, who fell to a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) loss on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

World number 47 Sasnovich next faces Italy's Martina Trevisan, whose best result at a grand slam was the quarter-finals at this competition two years ago.

Trevisan became the first Italian female player to win eight or more matches in a row since Francesca Schiavone in 2017 by defeating Daria Saville 6-3 6-4 in the third round.

Meanwhile, American teenager Coco Gauff negotiated past Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-4 to tee up a fourth-round clash with 31st seed Elise Mertens, who was a 6-2 6-3 winner over Varvara Gracheva.

Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 at the French Open as he cruised to a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday.

Nadal breezed past Jordan Thompson and Corentin Moutet to reach the third round, where the Spaniard had few difficulties on Court Suzanne-Lenglen against world number 29 Van de Zandschulp.

The pair exchanged breaks to begin the match, but the 13-time winner at Roland Garros soon took control as he only lost four points on his service in the first set, all of which came in the first game.

Van de Zandschulp continued to struggle in the second set as Nadal triumphed in a lengthy third game to break again, before following suit in the Dutchman's next service to further his advantage en route to taking a two-set lead.

World number five Nadal again opened the third set by battling to break Van de Zandschulp twice and had the opportunity to go 5-0 up with points in hand.

The Dutchman fought back to win three straight games before claiming another, leaving the set finely poised at 5-4 to Nadal.

However, the 35-year-old Nadal regained his composure to wrap up victory and will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who defeated Filip Krajinovic.

Data Slam: Nadal on course for Djokovic meeting

Only Novak Djokovic (325) and Roger Federer (369) have more grand slam match wins than Nadal (301), who remains on course to meet the world number one in the quarter-final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 25/13
Van de Zandschulp – 19/31

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 2/1
Van de Zandschulp – 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/12
Van de Zandschulp – 2/3

Koen Bouwman claimed his second victory of the Giro d'Italia on stage 19, while Richard Carapaz maintained his three-second general classification lead on Friday.

Jumbo Visma's Bouwman profited from a dramatic uphill finish at Santuario Di Castelmonte following a day-long five-man breakaway across the 178-kilometre race, which included a brief visit to Slovenia.

The Dutchman, who also leads the King of the Mountains classification, watched a last-corner mistake from Mauro Schmid (QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl) forced Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen) off the road.

Bouwman surged through to win as Schmid recovered to take second, with Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) taking third and Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) finishing ahead of a furious Vendrame.

However, Schmid was quick to question the last-corner problems with Bouwman and Vendrame.

"My opinion it was not a fair sprint, it was pretty clear, my handlebars are still in front and he nearly crashed in the last corner, he just knows he's slower in the sprint and he just pushed me away. You'll see when you watch the last 100-200 metres. I can do nothing," he told reporters.

"It was not fair in my opinion. Second place is first loser, so I'm not happy with that. I think I had it in the legs today. Of course, I'm disappointed but I want to say thanks to the team."

Bouwman, though, offered a different version of events to Schmid as he added: "I knew there was a corner to the left but I didn't know it was this sharp. I had to brake quite hard and I knew I had to take the inside [of the corner].

"After my first victory I said it would be really nice if I could have another one, but I also said I have to be realistic. It was my first victory as a pro. Now to win two stages in the Giro – I'm just so happy I don't have words.

Meanwhile, Carapaz finished eighth on the same time as Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) as the general classification battle continues.

Carapaz loses key team-mate Porte

Ineos Grenadiers' Richie Porte was forced to abandon the Giro at stage 19 due to illness, leaving Carapaz without a key supporter for the final two summits of the race.

Porte will be disappointed to finish his 13-year Grand Tour career in such fashion, having announced his intention to retire at the end of the season, and Carapaz was frustrated to lose his team-mate.

"Truth is, it's been a really difficult day today. I'm really disappointed for Richie it's unlucky," he told reporters.

"But the team is doing a good job and we're dealing with everything the best we can. We're all at a good level and trying to make it into a positive.

"It was a little give and take today but I think we're all pretty much on the same level at the top. It wasn't such a fantastically difficult finale that it was going to break up very much."

STAGE RESULT 

1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo Visma) 4:32:55
2. Mauro Schmid (QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl) same time 
3. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) same time
4. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) same time
5. Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 81:18:12
2. Jai Hindley (BORA-Hansgrohe) +0:03
3. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +1:05

Points Classification

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 254
2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 136
3. Mark Cavendish (QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl) 132

King of the Mountains

1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 294
2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 103
3. Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa) 94

Novak Djokovic cruised to a straight-sets win over Aljaz Bedene in the third round of the French Open, beating the Slovenian 6-3 6-3 6-2 to set up a last-16 clash with Diego Schwartzman.

Serbian star Djokovic, who is bidding to become the first player other than Rafael Nadal to win consecutive men's singles titles at Roland Garros since Gustavo Kuerten triumphed in 2000 and 2001, produced a ruthless display to blow away world number 195 Bedene in just one hour and 44 minutes.

Djokovic started as he meant to go on, launching an onslaught which forced Bedene to save five break points throughout his first two service games, before the Slovenian finally succumbed to a break in his third.

The top seed was virtually perfect on his own serve, winning 94 per cent of points on first serve in the opening set before picking up another decisive break just three games into the second.

Despite appearing to struggle with the glare at times on a sun-bathed Court Philippe-Chatrier, Djokovic continued his professional display to move closer to victory, recording just three unforced errors to his opponent's 13 in the second set.

To the delight of some in the crowd, Bedene forced his first and only break point of the encounter in the opening game of the third set, only for Djokovic to power a fierce volley past the 32-year-old before recovering to hold serve.

The world number one did not look back from there, breaking to love in the fourth game before wrapping up a routine win after forcing two match points on Bedene's serve to set up a seventh career meeting with Schwartzman, against whom he boasts a 100 per cent record.

Data Slam: Dominant Djokovic wraps up another straight-sets win

The world number one looks to be hitting form at the perfect time after a troubled start to the year: Djokovic has won 19 straight sets of tennis since the start of the Internazionale d'Italia earlier this month, recording a series of perfect displays since his Madrid Open final loss to Carlos Alcaraz.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic 30/18
Bedene 23/37

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic 9/1
Bedene 4/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic 5/11
Bedene 0/1

Blake Coleman was left questioning his own understanding of the rules after his go-ahead goal against the Edmonton Oilers was controversially disallowed as the Calgary Flames' season came to an end.

Coleman looked to have given the Flames a 5-4 lead in Game 5 of the second-round series when he followed in after Mikael Backlund's effort was initially repelled by Mike Smith.

However, a video review ruled Coleman had deliberately kicked the puck into the net.

The game was subsequently sent to overtime, with Connor McDavid scoring the winning goal for the Oilers as they clinched a 4-1 series victory to progress to the Western Conference Finals.

NHL rule 49.2 says a player cannot use "a deliberate kicking motion" to divert the puck into the net, however, Coleman appeared to turn his skate to help himself stop before making contact with the puck. Additionally, Backlund's effort looked set to cross the line despite Smith's block.

Yet the officials still ruled against Coleman, who could only express his bemusement after the game.

"I don't think I understand the rule," he said. "Getting pushed, just trying to keep my foot on the ice, I haven't watched it enough but in live speed, felt like I was in a battle.

"My understanding is you can direct the puck, you just can't kick it. I didn't feel like I kicked it but can't go back and change it now. It is what it is.

"It's unfortunate that was such a big part of the game and happened the way to influence the way it all went down. Aside from that, proud of our team, we fought hard, I wish that would've helped put us over to another game.

"There's no intent, just trying to get there, my understanding is you can redirect the puck off your foot as long as you're not lifting it and kicking it into the net.

"I'll go watch it again, maybe it's glaringly obvious and I just didn't feel like I did what it looks like."

Luka Doncic said he "played terrible" but expressed his pride at the Dallas Mavericks' season on the whole after they were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors booked their berth in the NBA Finals with a 120-110 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday – Klay Thompson contributing a game-high 32 points.

Doncic had 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but it was far from a vintage performance from the Mavs' talisman.

He was only 10-of-28 shooting from the floor, including making just three-of-13 three-pointers, while in the first half alone he was just two-of-12 and had three turnovers.

"I don't like losing, especially like this. I played terrible," Doncic said.

Despite his struggles on the night, it marked the 10th time during this season's playoffs that Doncic had topped the stats sheets in points, rebounds and assists for the Mavs. That marked a new record for the most during a single postseason, with LeBron James holding the previous benchmark in 2013.

"If we talk about our season, I'm really proud of this team. Everybody, every player, every staff member," said Doncic, who averaged 31.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists in the playoffs.

"Nobody had us here. But I promise we fought until the end. Congratulations to the Warriors. They were obviously the better team. But I'm really proud of this team."

Asked what the Mavs need to do to progress to becoming a championship team, Doncic was unequivocal in his reply.

"I think defense has got to be way better for me," he said. 

"Honestly, I think I made a huge step this year defensively, but there's so much room for improvement. I've got to be way better there.

"I think that's one spot that can take us to the next level."

Irina-Camelia Begu issued an apology after a racquet she threw into the ground bounced into the crowd and struck a child at the French Open.

The Romanian was playing in a second-round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova and was down a break in the third set when the incident happened.

The match was suspended as the young boy, who was sitting near the umpire's chair, was left in tears and being comforted by his parents.

Begu was issued a warning but avoided a default and went on to win the match 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4.

She later posed for pictures with the boy and said sorry for her moment of frustration at a post-match news conference.

"Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me, so I don't want to talk too much about it. I just want to apologise," she said.

"My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

"It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racquet. You hit the clay with the racquet, but you never expect [it] to fly that much."

A statement circulated by the French Tennis Federation from tournament referee Remy Azemar said: "The grand slam supervisor spoke with the parents who were with the child. The parents confirmed that the child was fine and not injured."

It said the racquet had "brushed a young spectator".

The incident was reminiscent of the 2020 US Open when men's world number one Novak Djokovic was defaulted when a ball he struck in anger hit a line judge.

Begu faces local favourite Leolia Jeanjean in round three.

Interim Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft praised his team's resilience in difficult circumstances after defeating the Calgary Flames 5-4 in overtime to reach the NHL's Western Conference final.

In a Battle of Alberta that saw an extraordinary 46 goals in five games, Connor McDavid scored at 5:03 in the extra period as the Oilers won their series 4-1.

The Edmonton captain scored his seventh goal of the playoffs, beating Jacob Markstrom off a pass from Leon Draisaitl to score the winner, while Zach Hyman contributed a goal and two assists.

Taking over from Dave Tippett in February, Woodcroft asserted his belief in the Oilers locker room post-game.

"There were some things that we could clean up heading into overtime," he said.

"We talked about that, but I think with our group there is a measure of calm and composure, and a strong belief that we have the people in the room that can get us through any type or circumstance, so we felt good about our chances.

"When I walked into that room at the beginning of February, I was bullish on our players because I saw a sincere desire to win and not just the desire to win, but I saw people willing to pay the price to win.

"We always felt that we had the ability to score. For us it's sometimes not just about what we're getting but also what we're giving up and as the series went on we got better at that."

McDavid now sits fifth in NHL history for playoff points per game at 1.45, while Draisaitl's 17 goals over the five games beat Wayne Gretzky's 1983 record for most points in a playoff series between the two teams.

 

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr lauded an "incredible" Stephen Curry after his side progressed to a sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2015 on Thursday.

Curry claimed the first Western Conference Finals MVP award as the Dubs defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5, claiming a 4-1 series win.

The former unanimous MVP suffered an early injury scare, tweaking his right ankle in an attempt to trap Dorian Finney-Smith in the first quarter. After sitting out the early exchanges of the second quarter, Curry finished with 15 points on a relatively poor five-of-17 shooting for his standards, along with nine assists and two steals.

According to Kerr however, the 34-year-old's stamina and mere presence gets the Warriors going, while his effort on the defensive side of the ball deserves respect.

"He's our engine, offensively. Everything revolves around him," Kerr said after the win. "We've got a lot fo great players around him and guys who fit well together but it all starts with Steph.

"He just creates so much havoc for the defence that even on a night like tonight where he doesn't shoot the ball that well, he forces rotations and he frees up other players. His defence all year has been totally underrated.

"He's as strong as he's ever been. Conditioning-wise, just to play 35 minutes tonight, fighting over screen after screen after screen and then at the other end, be on the ball and get people open. Steph's incredible."

The Warriors moved to a 21-2 playoff series record under Kerr's tenure with the win over the Mavericks, after missing the playoffs in the previous two seasons.

After seeing through the long-term injuries to Curry and Klay Thompson over that two-year hiatus, Kerr believes his team started to find rhythm at the end of last term, ending with a 15-5 record over the final 20 games of the regular season.

"These last couple of years have been difficult with the injuries – worst record in the league two years ago," Kerr said post-game. "Last year it felt like we spent the year trying to get back on track and I think we did at the end of the season.

"It's pretty amazing. It's so difficult to get to the finals. An NBA season is such a marathon, to get through the 82 [regular-season games], then three rounds of the playoffs, beating the best teams in the league to get there, frankly, it's exhausting.

"For our team, our guys, especially the core group…to be part of that six times in eight years, I don't even know what to say. It just takes an enormous amount of skill and determination and work and I couldn't be prouder of our guys."

Nestor Cortes carried a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning as the New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Thursday.

Cortes was in impressive form, finishing with five struck out and four hits over 109 pitches before Wandy Peralta came in to close the game out.

The Yankees came into this game with Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson both unavailable while DJ LeMahieu also deals with wrist soreness.

Requesting a release after 21 games in Triple-A ball for the Round Rock Express, the Texas Rangers' affiliate, Matt Carpenter scored twice from two at-bats as the designated hitter in his debut game for the Pinstripes.

Now on a three-game winning streak, the Yankees moved to 32-13 to extend their lead over the Rays atop the American League East.

Nola propels Phillies to win over Braves

The Philadelphia Phillies bounced back to defeat the Atlanta Braves, splitting their four-game series with a 4-1 win.

Aaron Nola struck out 10 and gave up only four hits while pitching a shutout coming into the ninth inning, giving up one more hit over an eventual 109 pitches before Corey Knebel closed.

The Phillies and Braves are now even on a 21-24 record in the National League East, both seven-and-a-half games behind the New York Mets.

Brewers beat Cardinals, extend NL Central lead

Josh Hader made the eventual save for the Milwaukee Brewers, earning a 37th consecutive scoreless appearance as they defeated the St Louis Cardinals 4-3.

Eric Lauer started slowly for the Brewers, giving up two runs and four hits in the opening two innings, before closing with four hits and a strikeout over 96 pitches in five innings.

Tyrone Taylor drove in for the seventh game in a row while Luis Urias scored a home run, as the Brewers extended their lead over the Cards in the NL Central.

The Golden State Warriors progressed to their sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2015, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 on Thursday for a 4-1 series victory.

The Warriors moved to a 21-2 playoff-series record since Steve Kerr took over as coach in 2014, only losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors in respective finals.

Klay Thompson came up big for the Warriors, shooting an even 50 per cent from beyond the arc for a team-high 32 points.

Kevon Looney was again a critical figure for the Dubs, finishing with a double-double of 10 points and 18 rebounds including seven on the offensive glass.

His effort on the glass directly contributed to the Warriors' 17 second-chance points while he gave the team defensive flexibility and freedom to switch.

The Mavericks started Game 5 in disappointing fashion, with Luka Doncic held to six points on two-of-12 shooting while committing four turnovers.

The 23-year-old took over as the Mavs mounted a brave fightback, though, scoring 15 points in the third quarter and getting the margin back to single-digits.

Stephen Curry suffered an early injury scare, rolling his ankle in the first quarter when attempting to trap Dorian Finney-Smith. After icing the ankle, Curry returned to finish with 11 points on five-of-17 shooting from the floor and nine assists over 35 minutes.

Averaging 26 points, 7.5 rebounds and seven assists while shooting 47.1 per cent from beyond the arc coming into Game 5, Curry was the first recipient of the award for Western Conference Finals MVP.

The Warriors will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

World number one Scottie Scheffler was part of an eight-man group atop the leaderboard after the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge, played at Colonial Country Club in Texas.

Scheffler, who shot a bogey-free 66 despite only hitting 50 per cent of the fairways in regulation, was joined by fellow Americans Harold Varner III, Chris Kirk, Beau Hossler, Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson, as well as Canadian Nick Taylor and Australian Cam Davis.

Hossler produced the most notable round, with two eagles – both coming on par-fours – in his last four holes to fly up the leaderboard.

One shot off the lead were a group including Davis Riley and Kevin Na, while pre-tournament favourite Jordan Spieth was back at one under, tied with Victor Hovland and Max Homa.

Spieth, who is from Texas, has an impeccable record at Colonial, with seven top-10 finishes – including three runners-up and a win – from nine starts on the PGA Tour.

Speaking to the media after finishing his round, Spieth said he is battling his putter at the moment but that he is confident things will turn in his favour.

"I think I'm typically more comfortable with reads here, although today here was totally different, I misread a number of putts today," he said.

"But I stroked it beautifully, I just felt great about the way I putted, I just didn't get much to go.

"Those are the kind of rounds where you can either look at it negatively, or you can say at it like 'hey, that lid is going to come off one of these times, and all of a sudden they're all going to pour in'.

"It's done that for me [previously] at Colonial, so I think that's the attitude I'm going to take."

At even par were a strong international group including Chile's US PGA Championship main character Mito Pereira, Colombia's Sebastian Munoz, England's Ian Poulter, American Collin Morikawa and the South Korean duo of Lee Kyoung-hoon and Im Sung-jae.

PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas was at one over, while his playoff opponent last week Will Zalatoris was a shot further back at two over.

Josh McDaniels attempted to duck questions about Colin Kaepernick following reports the exiled quarterback's workout with the Las Vegas Raiders went well.

Kaepernick has been working out with the Raiders this week with a view to coming in as Derek Carr's understudy.

The former San Francisco 49ers QB has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season, having knelt during the national anthem throughout that campaign in a protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

Since leaving the 49ers, Kaepernick had not had a single workout with an NFL team – until now.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Kaepernick's workout was "largely considered a positive", having impressed the Raiders with his arm strength and conditioning, while NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said it "went well and he impressed".

The possibility of the Raiders signing Kaepernick was unsurprisingly the subject of much discussion with head coach McDaniels then, but the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator sought not to give a great deal away.

"We will only talk about the people that are on our team," he said on Thursday.

"Dave [Ziegler, general manager] and his staff have worked out tons of guys this spring. We really don't make comments about the evaluations that we made or what they looked like, what they didn't look like, strengths and weaknesses, those kinds of thing.

"They are obviously kind of private for us as we look at things to try to make decisions to make the team better. If players are added to the team, then obviously we'll talk about them at that point.

"I respect the question 100 per cent; I understand, but that's kind of what we'll stick to."

However, McDaniels did concede the team were "encouraging the competition" at QB, and he explained they were open to any avenue that could improve the roster.

"If there's an opportunity to improve the team, we said it from day one that we would look at every opportunity," the coach added.

"[Kaepernick] is not the first player that we've looked at and not the last one. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to come in and out of this building and have an opportunity to make an impression."

Stefanos Tsitsipas called Zdenek Kolar a "complete player", despite ultimately defeating his Czech opponent in the second round of the French Open.

Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each before the number four seed finally secured victory with another tie-break in the fourth set, sealing it 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7).

Kolar is ranked 134th in the world but looked every bit a threat to Tsitsipas on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent).

Speaking at a news conference after his win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

"It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

"He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

"I guess both today," he said. "I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not overexaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

"Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer after the Swede beat 29th seed Dan Evans on Thursday.

The New York Yankees have signed 36-year-old three-time All-Star Matt Carpenter to a major league deal, and have added him to their active roster.

Carpenter was with the Texas Rangers on a minor league deal earlier this season before being released.

He spent the first 11 seasons of his career leading up to this season with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he finished top-10 in MVP voting twice, but had three poor seasons in a row to end his tenure there.

The Yankees were in desperate need of some competent major league help due to a spate of injuries, with Carpenter believed to be able to provide a steadying presence in the infield – at least defensively.

With the bat, Carpenter's value is buoyed by the fact that he is a left-hander who will play half of his games in Yankee Stadium, which is the friendliest ballpark for lefties with their notorious short-porch at right-field.

It remains to be seen if he will be used in any starting line-ups, or is purely a depth signing.

Ekaterina Alexandrova said the "rules were against" her after she lost to Irina-Camelia Begu at the French Open, where her Romanian opponent accidentally hit a child in the crowd with her racket.

The incident occurred in the third set of the second round match on Thursday, with Begu slamming her racket in frustration after a lost point, inadvertently bouncing it off the court's surface and into the crowd, where it struck the youngster.

Begu has since apologised, calling it "embarrassing".

There was a short break in play as officials and supervisors checked on the crying child, before ultimately deciding to give Begu a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Once play resumed, Begu immediately broke Alexandrova's serve, and won six of the next eight games to seal a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4 victory.

In an Instagram post after her loss, Alexandrova expressed her disappointment, suggesting the rules had been against her.

"So disappointed to leave [Roland Garros] like that, I was trying to do my best, but seems like the rules were against me today," she wrote. "This shouldn't be happening. 

"I hope after today's match rules will be improved for everyone's safety. We are responsible for our racket."

Speaking to the media after her win, Begu was apologetic for her actions.

"Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me. I just want to apologise," she said. "My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. 

"So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

She added: "It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racket, you know. 

"You hit the clay with the racket, but you never expect [it] to fly that much. 

"It was, as I said, embarrassing moment for me, and I just want to end it and not talk about it."

Former world number one Simona Halep says she suffered a panic attack during her second round match with Zheng Qinwen, contributing to her early French Open exit.

The 2018 Roland Garros champion became the latest big name to make a shock departure from Paris inside the first week after blowing a first set lead to lose 2-6 6-2 6-1.

It marked a major scalp for the unseeded Zhang, who previously lost to Halep in January, and was arguably the biggest win of the Chinese teenager's career at her competition debut.

But Halep, who looked to be in cruise control early on, revealed she suffered an unexpected setback that threw her rhythm in her post-match comments, though she has now recovered.

"I was playing well at the start," she stated. "I had a break in the second set, but then something happened. I just lost it.

"It was just a panic attack. I didn't know how to handle it, because I don't have [them] often. I don't really know why it happened, because I was leading the match. I was playing well

"After the match, [it] was pretty tough.  But now I'm good. I'm recovered, and I will learn from this episode. It's good that now I can smile."

On her overall time at Roland Garros, Halep admitted she was happy to come through it unscathed, adding: "Tomorrow is a new day. 

"I know it's like a cliche, but it's a new day, and I'll wake up motivated to keep working. [I've] no injury, which is really good. Now I'm in a good place."

Zion Williamson has been cleared to return to play without any restrictions.

The New Orleans Pelicans star did not play a single game this season due to a foot fracture as his team reached the playoffs through the play-in tournament, before losing 4-2 to the Phoenix Suns in the first round.

Williamson has been troubled by fitness issues throughout his NBA career, and the former first overall pick returned to full team activities in late November, only to suffer further setbacks.

However, the Pelicans confirmed on Thursday that the 21-year-old is finally able to return without restrictions, saying via a statement: "The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that recent imaging of Zion Williamson's right fifth metatarsal showed continued improvement.

"Williamson has been cleared in his return to play progression without any restrictions."

In the 2020-21 season, Williamson averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds from 61 games, and scored more than 20 in each of his last 15 games before getting injured just over a year ago.

Williamson is eligible for a five-year, $181million max rookie extension ahead of the 2022-23 season, and he will not think twice if that offer comes from the Pelicans, recently saying: "Of course, I couldn't sign it fast enough."

Only the understandable media attention is allowing Iga Swiatek to keep count of her incredible winning run that reached 30 matches on Thursday.

The world number one sealed her place in the third round of the French Open after a dominant 6-0 6-2 win against Alison Riske.

That victory made her just the fourth WTA Tour player this century to win 30 or more consecutive matches. She has also taken 46 of the past 47 sets she has played.

Speaking at a news conference following her milestone win, Swiatek insisted she does not follow the numbers – although she has no need to while her streak remains the focus of journalists.

"I know how many matches I have won in a row because you keep reminding me, basically," she said. "But I don't keep track.

"I'm not like noting or something. I just try to come back to these matches to get experience from them. But that's the only reason why I come back to them."

Swiatek was asked to explain what had inspired her imperious form, with her 39 match victories in 2022 already three more than she managed in the whole of 2021.

"I think basically I changed some things, like I started being more aggressive and trying to be more proactive on court," she replied. "That's something that my coach really helped me to do.

"But also, I think all the work we have been doing, even last season, it finally clicked somehow.

"You know, last season it was a year for me where I really gained so much experience. This year I feel like I'm using it the right way. I have this experience already, and I can just move forward.

"So I think it's the physical work I have been doing but also with my psychologist, I think it's the work of the whole team as well. I'm pretty glad that it clicks right now."

The 20-year-old conceded her form will not last forever, but she is determined to enjoy it while it lasts.

"I was saying from the beginning that for sure I'm going to reach a point where I'm going to lose a match, and it's pretty normal, you know," Swiatek said. "I have been losing matches in tennis for a long time.

"For sure, the things we are doing right now are pretty extraordinary, but I know in tennis that only one person wins at the end. I will be okay with that.

"For sure, it's not fun to lose, but I think it wouldn't be different than any other loss that I had in my career."

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