PARIS, June 2, 2017
The bottom half of the men’s draw was in third round action at Roland Garros on Friday, headlined by the French Open defending champion Novak Djokovic, who had to fight hard against an inspired Argentine Diego Schwartzman, rallying 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in three hours and 18 minutes.
“Sometimes you need to be challenged in order for certain things to surface, which maybe are not surfacing if you’re winning comfortably. That’s going to happen more as I go deeper in the tournament because the matches and opponents are going to get tougher,” said Djokovic.
“I didn’t play too many five-setters the past couple of years. I see a lot of good things in it. I think it will put me in a good place mentally as well.”
Next up for Djokovic will be Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain. The 19th seed defeated local favourite Lucas Pouille 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.
9-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal contested his 100th best-of-five-sets match on clay when he cruised past Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia on Court Philippe Chatrier, winning 6-0, 6-1, 6-0.
The Spaniard is now enjoying a 98-2 win-loss record in best-of-five-set matches on clay, with his only defeats coming at Roland Garros. Basilashvili was looking to emulate Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic in order to become the third man to defeat the King of Clay in a best-of-five-sets match on the dirt. However, the World No. 63 was without any chance losing the encounter in only 90 minutes.
“I think I played great. Winning with that score against a player that already won against Simon and Troicki, so cannot say another thing,” Nadal was pleased with his performance. The fourth seed will next take on fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut, who beat Jiri Vesely from the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
Suffering an injury to his left thigh, Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez retired from his third round match on Court No.2 against fifth seed Milos Raonic from Canada. Raonic was leading 6-1, 1-0.
Raonic advances to the round of 16, where he will face 20th seeed Pablo Carreno Busta. The 25-year-old Spaniard knocked out the tournament’s number 11 Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria, winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
Carreno Busta withstood 14 aces, breaking serve five times to secure victory in two hours and 18 minutes.
“I played three times against Milos, and I lost all the times,” Carreno Busta told. “But it was good matches. I think the last one was in Paris last year in Masters 1000. I need to try to be very focused on my service, on my games with the serve, and then try to take the opportunities on his serves, because, well, it is very difficult to do something. But I will try, of course”
It was Dimitrov’s sixth attempt to beat a Top 50 player in Paris. He is also still looking to complete a set of round of 16 appearances at the Grand Slams, as Roland Garros remains the only major where he is yet to progress beyond the third round.
Sixth seed Dominic Thiem from Austria ended Steve Johnson’s brave run at Roland Garros with a 6-1, 7-6, 6-3 victory over the US-American to face Horacio Zeballos next. The Argentine benefited from an unfortunate retirement for David Goffin, as the Belgian twisted his ankle in the ninth game of the opening set.