Sebastian Korda and the Runs That Make This French Open So Unpredictable

Thirteen seeded players reached the third round, the fewest since the singles draw was expanded to 32 seeds in 2001 at Wimbledon. Led by the 131st-ranked Nadia Podoroska, eight women outside the top 100 graced the round of 32.

Podoroska, 23, of Argentina, posted a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 161 Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova to advance to the fourth round, where she will face the 114th-ranked Barbara Krejcikova, who survived a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 challenge from the wild card Tsvetana Pironkova.

Podoroska, who started the year ranked outside the top 250, won back-to-back small tournaments in Malibu, Calif., and Petit-Bourg, France, before the pandemic shut down competition for five months. Even with the interruption, Podoroska has managed to win 41 matches this year. This is her second Grand Slam main draw since she turned professional nine years ago, and she believes she has benefited from the relative calm and quiet on the grounds, where there is a 1,000-fan limit.

“It’s good because I’m used to playing with no crowd,” Podoroska said. “For me it’s quite the same playing here or in the tournaments that I’ve been playing before.”

Like Podoroska, Korda was playing well before the pandemic. He spent the shutdown working on his conditioning.

“I just kind of put my head down and said, ‘You know what, this is happening right now. I can’t change anything about it,’” he said. “I really just tried to dial in and be super positive.”

Less than two dozen fans convened on Court 7 to watch Korda’s rain-interrupted victory. They included a few ball girls who stayed after their matches and did not let the soggy weather dampen their enthusiasm for his style, which includes a big serve and a black headband that contains his unruly bangs.