Djokovic in five-set struggle to reach last 16

The defending champion struggled battled past Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, while nine-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal made short work of Nikoloz Basilashvili to reach the fourth round.

Djokovic faced a marathon five-setter in the fourth round of the French Open.   -  Getty

 

Defending champion Novak Djokovic struggled into the French Open last 16 on Friday, downing battling Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

The second seed will face either France's Lucas Pouille, the 16th seed, or 19th-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain for a place in the last eight.

Nadal romps through

Getty

Rafael Nadal beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in the 3rd round of the French Open

 

Clearly Nikoloz Basilashvili had come to face Rafael Nadal with a plan but, like Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they're punched in the face.

And that's what happened - in tennis terms - to the Georgian when he took on the irrepressible Spaniard in the French Open third round on Friday.

The brutality of Nadal's destruction of the Georgian on the Roland Garros main showcourt was withering.

READ: Players sorry for Goffin

The statistics within the 6-0 6-1 6-0 pummelling make for grisly reading. Grisly for Basilashvili, grisly for Nadal's next opponent Roberto Bautista Agut, grisly for everyone in the draw.

Grisly for everyone except the fourth-seeded Spaniard. For example, it took Basilashvili until the 12th game of the match to register on the scoreboard.

He won one in four of his first serve points in the opening set.

The number of winners he struck in the match could be counted on one hand, and his 34 unforced errors almost matched the entire number of points he won all match - 36.

Yet Basilashvili is no rookie: Nadal did this to him. Consider that the 25-year-old Georgian had already this year beaten then world number eight Dominic Thiem.

Nadal is a unique creature on clay, though. His statistics are mind-boggling.

Friday's victory was his 100th best-of-five-set match on the slow surface, and he now has a staggering win-loss ratio of 98-2.

Thiem into last 16

Dominic Thiem eased into the French Open fourth round on Friday with a 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over American 25th seed Steve Johnson.

The Austrian is the only player to beat Rafael Nadal on clay this season and plays Argentina's Horacio Zeballos for a place in the quarter-finals.

Sixth seed Thiem reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year in his best performance at a Grand Slam.

Goffin retires

10th seed David Goffin quit his French Open third round match on Friday after suffering an ankle injury when he got caught up in court covers.

Goffin was leading Argentina's Horacio Zeballos 5-4 when he chased down the ball towards the back of the Suzanne Lenglen court.

However, his right foot got horribly jammed beneath the rolled-up covers before he tumbled into the wall and a linesman's chair.

Other results:

20-Pablo Carreno (Spain) beat 11-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 7-5 6-3 6-4;

17-Roberto Bautista (Spain) beat Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) 6-3 6-4 6-3;

5-Milos Raonic (Canada) beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spain) 6-1 1-0 (Garcia-Lopez retired).

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