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May 2023

May showcased two of the most significant clay events on the tennis calendar, Madrid and Rome, as players geared up for the eagerly anticipated second Grand Slam of the year, Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Jannik Sinner were notable absentees due to injury, yet the tournament still delivered captivating matches and surprising results. Among them, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina thrilled the home crowd with a third-set tiebreak victory over Holger Rune, while qualifier Matteo Arnaldi caused an upset by defeating Casper Ruud.

Two players who emerged from the qualifying rounds made a splash in the main draw: Russia's Aslan Karatsev defeated compatriot Daniil Medvedev en route to the semifinals, and lucky loser Jan-Lennard Struff overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas to join Karatsev in the same stage. Struff, who had lost to Karatsev in qualifying, got his revenge in the final.

On the other side of the draw, defending champion Carlos Alcaraz showcased his determination, defeating Alex Zverev and an in-form Borna Coric to reach the final. Struff pushed Alcaraz to three sets, but the Spaniard successfully defended his title on home soil.

The women's tournament in Madrid saw Ons Jabeur unable to defend her title following a retirement in Stuttgart. Veronika Kudermetova displayed exceptional form throughout the week, defeating top 10 players Daria Kasatkina and Jessica Pegula en route to the semifinals.

Maria Sakkari also impressed, overcoming home favorite Paula Badosa and rallying from a set down against Irina-Camelia Begu to secure a spot in the semifinals. Reigning Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, the world's top two players, navigated their way through the draw. Swiatek dropped a set against Ekaterina Alexandrova in the fourth round, while Sabalenka faced a challenge from Mayar Sherif in the quarterfinals. However, both players showcased their dominance in the semifinals, with Swiatek losing just two games against Kudermetova and Sabalenka surrendering only five games to Sakkari. The heavyweight final saw Sabalenka avenge her Stuttgart loss by defeating Swiatek in a thrilling three-set battle to claim the Madrid title.


The men's competition in Rome generated excitement as world number one Carlos Alcaraz and world number two Novak Djokovic competed in the same event for the first time in 2023. However, both players faced early exits. Alcaraz suffered a stunning upset in the third round at the hands of qualifier Fabian Marozsan, yet the result guaranteed him the top seed at Roland Garros, a Grand Slam first for the young Spaniard. Djokovic reached the quarterfinals, maintaining his consistent record at the tournament, but ultimately fell to Holger Rune.

Last year's Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud found his form just in time for the upcoming Grand Slam, progressing to the semifinals. Rune, after coming back from a set down against Ruud, secured his second clay Masters final appearance of the year. In the other half of the draw, Rome debutant Daniil Medvedev made an impressive run to the semifinals, where he faced Stefanos Tsitsipas. Medvedev celebrated a hard-fought victory over the Greek and went on to defeat Rune in the final, capturing his first-ever clay court Masters title.

On the women's side, defending champion Iga Swiatek aimed to overcome her disappointment from the Madrid final and successfully defend her title in Rome. However, fate had a different plan as she was forced to retire mid-match against Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals.

Jelena Ostapenko, a former Roland Garros champion, found her rhythm during the tournament, defeating Barbora Krejcikova, Daria Kasatkina, and Paula Badosa to secure a spot in the semifinals alongside Rybakina. Aryna Sabalenka, meanwhile, suffered an early upset at the hands of former US Open champion Sofia Kenin, opening up the bottom half of the draw. Ukrainian 30th seed Anhelina Kalinina capitalized on the opportunity, reaching the final with a semifinal victory over Kudermetova. Unfortunately, Kalinina was forced to retire while trailing by a set in the final, granting Rybakina her first clay 1000 level title.

With six different players winning the six 1000-level clay court events across both the men's and women's tournaments, the stage is set for an exhilarating and open Roland Garros, promising one of the most competitive editions in recent years. Tennis fans around the world eagerly await the drama and excitement that awaits in the upcoming Grand Slam.

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