French Open 2023: Norrie faces Musetti and could play Alcaraz next

French Open 2023: Norrie faces Musetti and could play Alcaraz next

Britain’s Cameron Norrie says he is not distracted by the looming prospect of playing top seed Carlos Alcaraz as he tries to reach the French Open fourth round for the first time.

Norrie, seeded 14th, first faces a tough task in the third round against Italian 17th seed Lorenzo Musetti.

Spain’s Alcaraz plays Canadian 26th seed Denis Shapovalov and the winners of each match will meet in the last 16.

“I saw it’s Alcaraz but I’m focused on taking it match by match,” said Norrie.

British men’s number one Norrie has reached the third round at Roland Garros for the third successive year, following back-to-back wins over French players Benoit Paire and Lucas Pouille.

Norrie is yet to progress past this stage on the Paris clay after defeats by Spanish great Rafael Nadal in 2021 and Russian 21st seed Karen Khachanov last year.

Musetti will provide another stern test for the 27-year-old Briton when they meet third on Court Simonne Mathieu at about 15:00 GMT.

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a productive European clay-court swing, having won 10 of his 14 matches and reaching the Barcelona semi-finals.

French Open 2023: Norrie faces Musetti and could play Alcaraz next
Cameron Norrie is the only Briton left in the French Open singles

That run included a three-set comeback win over Norrie, while Musetti also earned a notable victory against 22-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic to reach the Monte Carlo quarter-finals.

“It’s a tough match-up because I’d say his favourite surface is clay,” added Norrie, whose best Grand Slam run came when he reached the Wimbledon semi-finals last year.

“He’s a great player, really talented and obviously I lost to him last time.

“I lost a bit of concentration and a bit of focus, and my level dropped a lot, but I was able to figure out ways to win points.

“It will be difficult and I’ll have to come out with the energy I did against Pouille to have a chance.”

What else is happening at Roland Garros on Friday?

Alcaraz, 20, will play Shapovalov in Friday’s night session on Court Philippe Chatrier, where third seed Djokovic faces Spanish 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the afternoon.

American third seed Jessica Pegula opens on Chatrier when she plays Belgian 28th seed Elise Mertens at 10:45 BST.

Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka – aiming for back-to-back Grand Slam titles after winning the Australian Open in January – follows against Russian world number 82 Kamilla Rakhimova.

In the doubles, there is more British interest as Neal Skupski, Joe Salisbury and Lloyd Glasspool all play.

Skupski and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof, who are the top seeds, play Argentina’s Pedro Cachin and China’s Yibing Wu, while second seeds Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram face Spanish pair Roberto Carballes Baena and Jaume Munar.

Glasspool plays with American Asia Muhammad in the mixed doubles against French wildcards Estelle Cascino and Dan Added.