Novak battles past Schwartzman into Roland Garros last 16

Second seed Novak Djokovic persisted through a tricky third-round contest on Friday at Roland Garros, coming back twice from a break deficit to advance 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 against Diego Schwartzman for a place in the fourth round. The marathon match lasted three hours and 19 minutes.

Novak started off strongly, moving to a 4-1 lead courtesy of a service break in the fourth game. However, the Serb then suffered an unusual lapse in concentration and control, as he won just one of the next seven games to lose the opening set.

The reigning titlist regrouped quickly to take the second set and level the result, but was broken again in the eighth game of the third set. He missed four break point opportunities to come back into the set, and the Argentine took a two sets to one lead.

From that moment, Djokovic has lifted a gear. He won the fourth and fifth games in convincing fashion to move two match wins away from his 60th victory on Parisian clay.

“Sometimes you need to be challenged in order for certain things to face, which maybe are not facing 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.”

Match statistics: aces (7-4), double faults (1-5), winners (43-26), unforced errors (55-58) total points won (153-114).

For a place in the French Open quarter-final, Novak will play against no.19 seed from Spain Albert Ramos-Vinolas (3-0 H2H).

Photo: Icon Sport

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