Elena Rybakina underlined why she is among the French Open favourites with a convincing win over rising Czech star Linda Noskova.
Kazakhstan’s Rybakina won 6-3 6-3 against the 18-year-old to move into the third round on the Paris clay.
Rybakina, 23, showed her ability on the red dirt by winning the Italian Open title last week and this was her eighth successive victory on the surface.
The fourth seed will play Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in the last 32.
Rybakina is part of the emerging ‘big three’ on the WTA Tour, alongside Poland’s Iga Swiatek and Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, with the trio having won the past four Grand Slam titles between them.
They are the leading players on the WTA Tour this season, although the Kazakh is still fourth in the 52-week rankings – behind American Jessica Pegula – after not receiving points for winning Wimbledon last year.
Rybakina reached the Australian Open final in January, losing to Sabalenka, but showed with the win against Noskova she looks capable of going far at Roland Garros.
Her best performance came in 2021 when she reached the quarter-finals.
Top seed Swiatek, the defending champion, continues her bid for a third French Open title when she faces American world number 102 Claire Liu later on Thursday.
Sabalenka, 25, is already through to the third round, earning another straight-set win when she beat compatriot Iryna Shymanovich on Wednesday.