Alcaraz, Zverev reach last 16 in French Open

Carlos Alcaraz's meteoric rise continued on Friday when he outplayed American Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and reached the last 16 of the French Open for the first time.

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning against Sebastian Korda of the U.S.   -  AP

Carlos Alcaraz's meteoric rise continued on Friday when the Spanish prodigy produced yet another awe-inspiring performance to outplay American Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 and reach the last 16 of the French Open for the first time.

Facing the only man to beat him on clay this year, the sixth-seeded teenager, who saved a match point in the second round, showed his full range on a packed court Philippe Chatrier - mixing powerful forehands with gravity-defying drop shots.

The 27th-seeded Korda threw everything at his opponent, only for the ball to come back quicker and with more power and the American faded in the third after a high-octane fight in the first two sets.

Alcaraz, who now has an 18-1 win-loss record on the red dirt this season after winning titles in Barcelona and Madrid, will next face 21st-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov before a potential quarter-final clash against third seed Alexander Zverev.

"It's amazing to play in front of such a great crowd in this atmosphere on a night session," the 19-year-old Alcaraz, who stunned the crowd with some serve and volleying, said.

"I'm having fun, I love playing tennis on such great courts, I love playing in France. Serve and volley is a weapon that I have so I use it."

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Should the stars align for Alcaraz, he could eventually take on either world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic or 13-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal in the last four.

"If I am winning, I just play against one of them. I think I'm ready. It's different to play against them," he said.

"I mean in the Masters 1000 or another tournament it's best-of-three and in Grand Slam it's best-of-five, but I would say I'm ready."

Alcaraz got off to a brilliant start and had a couple of double break points at 3-1, only for Korda to stave them off with a service winner and an ace.

But the Spaniard was untroubled on his service games and he wrapped up the opening set having lost only six points on serve.

Korda found his range early in the second set and set up two break points but Alcaraz held firm and showed his ability to find the best shot at the best moment - including a sublime lob while on the back foot to go 30-0 up in the fifth game.

He won that game with a superb forehand winner down the line.

Korda saved set points at 5-3 but yielded under pressure in the 10th game, returning long to hand Alcaraz a two-set lead.

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It quickly went downhill from there for Korda, who dropped serve again with a volley into the net in the seventh game and capitulated on the first match point when Alcaraz unleashed a backhand winner down the line.

Zverev powers into last 16

Alexander Zverev muscled his way into the fourth round of the French Open with a no-nonsense 7-6(2), 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over American Brandon Nakashima on Friday.

It was a welcome change for the German third seed, who had to save a match point in a five-set thriller in the previous round at Roland Garros.

"I raised my level a lot today, it was a different match. I prefer this. This is much better for me, I don't lose too much hair. The atmosphere was amazing," said Zverev, who will next take on Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

The 20-year-old Nakashima had never beaten a top 20 player and did not seem in a position to do so after a tight opening.

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The American struggled to handle Zverev's raw power and gradually faded away despite a good effort to derail the German, who this time stayed on track throughout.

Zverev was below his best at the start but found an opening in the tiebreak to take the first set on a sun-kissed Court Suzanne Lenglen.

The German broke for 3-1 in the second set with a backhand winner and held throughout to take a two-set lead despite some decent defensive play by his opponent.

The match seemed to be in the bag for Zverev when he took Nakashima's serve to open a 3-2 lead in the third set, but the world number 75 broke straight back and forced another tiebreak.

Olympic champion Zverev, a semi-finalist here last year, fell 4-2 behind but found the best angles to turn it around and secure a straightforward victory in the end.

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