Stefanos Tsitsipas, regarded as the favourite to reach the final from his half of the draw, puts in a strong display to dispose of Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
Serena Williams has survived a French Open scare to extend her latest bid for an elusive 24th Grand Slam singles title with a three-set victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu, while men's fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and world number two Daniil Medvedev also reached the third round.
The 39-year-old Williams, who has been one short of Margaret Court's all-time record of most major trophies since 2017, brushed off a second-set blip on Wednesday to win 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.
Serena Williams, fighting the good fight at age 39, steadies the ship and defeats the very unseeded Buzarnescu 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 in the second round of the French Open— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) June 2, 2021
Intriguing third rounder coming up with another fighter: American Danielle Collins#getty pic.twitter.com/nGH1hUrNaw
The American, seeded seventh, will play compatriot Danielle Collins for a last-16 berth as she looks for a fourth French Op en crown, but first since 2015.
"It was good competition, she was playing well and I was playing well," said the former world number one, who has withdrawn injured mid-tournament on two of her last three visits to Roland Garros.
Williams has already seen two of her likeliest title rivals either fail to start the tournament or pull out in unprecedented circumstances.
World number three Simona Halep, who defeated Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon final, withdrew before the event with injury.
The biggest story of the week so far has been world number two Naomi Osaka's shock withdrawal after a press boycott, saying she has been suffering with "bouts of depression" since her breakthrough triumph over Williams in the controversial 2018 US Open showpiece match.
READ MORE: Osaka withdraws from French Open after media boycott row
Williams started well on Wednesday with a comfortable opening set, but paid for missing seven of eight break points in the second as world number 174 Buzarnescu forced a decider.
But she double-faulted on break point in the first game of the third set and Williams cruised to the finish line.
Tsitsipas lays down early marker
Tsitsipas, regarded as the favourite to reach the final from his half of the draw, put in a strong display to dispose of Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
The Greek, who lost an epic semi-final to Novak Djokovic last year, next faces big-serving American John Isner.
"We're here at a Grand Slam and it's a big opportunity... But of course it's going to be a challenge," said the 22-year-old Tsitsipas, who has never reached a major final.
He has won his last three meetings with Isner.
Medvedev bounced back from losing the first set to American Tommy Paul in style by romping to a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 victory.
A work of art 🎨 👚— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 2, 2021
🇺🇸@ReillyOpelka gets it done with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 win over Munar. He’ll make his R3 debut against the winner of Medvedev vs. Paul. #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/2kmAhfcTt4
The Russian, who had never got past the first round in four previous appearances, will eye a fourth-round spot against US 32nd seed Reilly Opelka.
After a sloppy opening set, the two-time Grand Slam runner-up was far too strong for Paul, breaking his 52-ranked opponent eight times.
Sixth seed Alexander Zverev was in scratchy form but did enough to see off Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin in straight sets.
The German, last year's US Open runner-up, will take on Serbia's Laslo Djere in the third round after a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) victory.
Zverev had needed to fight back from two sets down in his opening match against qualifier Oscar Otte.
"I'm happy to be through in three sets," he said. "I'm happy not to have played another five-setter. I think it's going to be important for me during the course of this tournament."
Norwegian youngster Casper Ruud continued his excellent year by easing past Poland's Kamil Majchrzak 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, while three-time quarter-finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan edged out Russian 23rd seed Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Chatrier.
Men's doubles team removed after testing positive
French Open organisers said Wednesday that a men's doubles team had tested positive for Covid-19 and been removed from the tournament.
The two players were not named by organisers.
READ MORE: Osaka fined, threatened with French Open expulsion over media boycott
"The Roland Garros tournament organisers confirm that two players from the men's doubles draw, on the same team, have tested positive for Covid-19," a statement said late Wednesday.
"In line with the tournament's public health and safety protocol, the pair have been removed from the draw and the two players placed in quarantine.
"They will be replaced by the first team on the alternate list."
Organisers said that since the start of qualifying for the Grand Slam on May 24, there had been 2,446 tests performed on players and their teams.
"This is the first occurence in which the tournament organizers must remove players, in accordance with their health protocol," they added.
Veteran wins: 15th seed Victoria Azarenka and 23rd seed Madison Keys, both former semifinalists, hold off two young title winners within minutes of each other.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 2, 2021
Azarenka d. Tauson 75 64
Keys d. Fernandez 61 75
Will face each other for a spot in the Round of 16. #RG21 pic.twitter.com/K3Fhx8z99o
It was a strong French Open afternoon for the US, including victories in the women’s draw for No. 23 Madison Keys and in the men’s for No. 31 John Isner, No. 32 Reilly Opelka and unseeded players Stevie Johnson and Marco Giron.
It's the first time that four American men made it to the third round at Roland Garros since a half-dozen got there in 1996 — and Taylor Fritz still has to play his second match on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, down 4-1 in the third set, 2020 US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev decided it was time to shorten his match.
He was determined to avoid another lengthy fight following a five-setter in the first round, so he applied pressure on qualifier Roman Safiullin. The sixth-seeded German won the next game at love, broke bac k by pushing his rival into unforced errors and was nearly flawless in the tiebreaker.
Zverev Express 🚂— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 2, 2021
No. 6 seed @AlexZverev dismisses Qualifier Roman Safiullin in straight sets: 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(1). #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/tJsx4OKxVy
The reward was a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (1) victory to advance to the third round.
“I’m happy to be through in three sets," Zverev said. "I think it’s going to be important for me during the course of this tournament."
READ MORE: Osaka withdraws from WTA semi-final over police 'genocide of Black people'
Zverev, facing a rival he has known since they were juniors, dropped his serve three times on Court Suzanne Lenglen and hit 10 double-faults. But a 25-shot rally in the final tiebreaker epitomized Zverev’s hang-in-there attitude.
First on the defensive, Zverev turned it around and won the point with a passing shot.
Others moving into the third round included qualifier Henri Laaksonen, who hit 53 winners to upset 11th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, and Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, who was taken to five sets for the second consecutive match before downing the big-hitting Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
R1 4:03 🥵— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 2, 2021
R2 3:59 😅
Racking up the hours, @keinishikori earns a third straight win for against Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/cgRNLZfqZK
The 23rd-seeded Khachanov was treated by a trainer in the fifth set after cutting his right middle finger by hitting his racket strings in anger.
Nishikori extended his record in five-set matches to 26-7.