The first two sets took a bruising, exhausting near three hours alone.
The Spaniard would squander an early break but regained it at 5-all in the first. Davidovich Fokina couldn’t serve it out and Djokovic would take the breaker in a 90+ minute opening set which featured both players move up and back, side to side and both used the complete court.
The second was more the same. This time, though, Djokovic failed to serve it out at 5-4 getting broken at love. He would hold for 6-5 and then had set point chances on the Djokovic serve.
Djokovic would then go up 4-1 in the breaker before Davidovich roared back, but it wasn’t enough.
Spent after three hours, Djokovic pulled away in the third to reach the fourth round for a 14th straight time in Paris.
“I knew it was going to be a very difficult match, a very physical match,” Djokovic said. “We played three hours for only two sets. He contested very well. He is an amazing fighter and an amazing player. He has very few weaknesses in his game. Congratulations to him for fighting. Bad luck, but he played a great match.
“A win is a win. The first two sets, three hours, I thought if I lose the second set, I will probably be playing five hours today,” he added. “You have to be ready. That is what Grand Slams are all about, playing best of five. You have to believe in yourself and make the most out of it. I am proud of the performance today.”
The Serb should get a welcome reprieve on Sunday against Juan Pablo Varilles. The Peruvian authored consecutive 0-2 comebacks and today took a more traditional approaching winning in five to upset Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 6-2. The 27-year-old Varilles was 0-2 at in Slams until this week.
It was a mixed day for Russians as Karen Khachanov held off Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(7-5). But No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev wasn’t as fortunate letting slip a two set lead to Lorenzo Sonego in a crushing 5-7, 0-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-5), 6-3 loss.
“Not much to say I think,” said Rublev. “The way that I was playing today, I deserve to lose.
“I think it’s more about my level. It’s not good enough now,” he said. “It’s more important for me to go back and improve the level of my game.”
“In the fourth set I think we were equal. Just a few points were not on my side. In the fifth set, he played really well. He started to hit full power. He started to play really well but still I had some opportunities.”
Top seed and tournament favorite Carlos Alcaraz blitzed fellow shotmaker Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
In their first meeting, Shapovalov tried to take the net early but got broken and Alcaraz built the momentum from there. The Canadian would strike in the second to lead 4-1 but that evaporated in a blink as the Spaniard took five straight games and 11 of the last 13 to improve to 33-3 on the year.
“I was in trouble a little bit. I started to make more mistakes, but I had to be there all the time mentally,” Alcaraz said on court. “I knew that I was going to have my chances to come back,”
Next for Carlitos will be a good showdown with 21-year-old Lorenzo Musetti. The Italian crushed Cameron Norrie 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 and he beat Alcaraz last summer on clay.
“I know him very well. We played a lot of matches as kids. He beat me last year. Hopefully I’m going to enjoy [the match],” Alcaraz said.
The 5th-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas quality cruised past Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in three 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
The Greek will now get Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner who went the distance to eliminate Fabio Fognini 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.
Tomorrow, the third round continues with No. 4 Casper Ruud taking on Zhizhen Zhang. No. 6 Holger Rune collides with Genaro Alberto Olivieri, No. 9 Taylor Fritz faces No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo and in the night match No. 12 Frances Tiafoe gets No. 22 Alexander Zverev. Zverev has won six of seven from the American.
SATURDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe-CHATRIER – Début à 11h45
Elena RYBAKINA (KAZ) contre Sara SORRIBES TORMO (ESP)
Holger RUNE (DEN) contre Genaro Alberto OLIVIERI (ARG)
Iga SWIATEK (POL) contre Xinyu WANG (CHN)
Pas avant 20h15
Alexander ZVEREV (GER) contre Frances TIAFOE (USA)
Court Suzanne-LENGLEN – Début à 11h00
Zhizhen ZHANG (CHN) contre Casper RUUD (NOR)
Mirra ANDREEVA (—) contre Coco GAUFF (USA)
Francisco CERUNDOLO (ARG) contre Taylor FRITZ (USA)
Olga DANILOVIC (SRB) contre Ons JABEUR (TUN)
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