Novak Djokovic was hot and bothered for a time by Salvatore Caruso before moving through to the fourth round of the French Open.
With temperatures in the high 20s after a generally cool and cloudy week, Djokovic did not look comfortable for much of his 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory over Italian qualifier Caruso, which was much tougher than the score suggested.
“It was a different day in terms of conditions,” said Djokovic. “It was challenging. Obviously the ball was bouncing differently. In these kind of warmer conditions, the play changes a bit.
“Caruso was very motivated. I thought he stepped into the court having a clear game plan. I kind of stepped it up a little bit. I feel like I took my game to a different level.”
Djokovic will next face unseeded German Jan-Lennard Struff, who reached the fourth round at a grand slam for the first time with a five-set win over 13th seed Borna Coric – the fifth set going to 11-9.
Alexander Zverev took the scenic route once again before beating Dusan Lajovic 6-4 6-2 4-6 1-6 6-2.
Of the eight matches the German has played here the last two years, five have gone the distance.
“They didn’t explain me the rules of five sets yet, so somebody needs to tell me I don’t necessarily need to play five sets every time I step on the court,” joked Zverev.
It has been a challenging season so far for the fifth seed, who has long been talked about as the leader of the next generation but has only reached one grand slam quarter-final.
Stefanos Tsitsipas bettered that by defeating Roger Federer and making the semi-finals of the Australian Open, and Zverev, who next faces in-form ninth seed Fabio Fognini, is happy to fly a bit more under the radar this time.
“I think I have been talked about less, which is a very nice thing,” he said. “People talk about obviously Rafa, Novak, and all those guys, but Tsitsipas, much, much more. He deserves to have a lot of credit.”
Tsitsipas is also through to the fourth round but it has not been easy for the 20-year-old Greek either.
His third-round encounter with Filip Krajinovic had been called off because of darkness on Friday night with Tsitsipas two sets up and at 5-5 in the third.
Serbian Krajinovic took the third-set tie-break on the resumption and had a set point to force a decider but Tsitsipas scraped through 7-5 6-3 6-7 (5) 7-6 (6).
Next for the sixth seed is a tasty-looking encounter with 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka, who finished off his own delayed clash with Grigor Dimitrov, coming from 6-2 down to win the third-set tie-break and the match 7-6 (5) 7-6 (4) 7-6 (8).
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem was a 6-4 3-6 6-2 7-5 winner over Pablo Cuevas and next takes on Gael Monfils, the only man apart from Djokovic and Roger Federer who is yet to drop a set.
The other fourth-round clash in the top half will pit eighth seed Juan Martin Del Potro against 10th seed Karen Khachanov.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Naomi Osaka’s winning grand slam run came to an end with a straight-sets defeat by Katerina Siniakova in the third round of the French Open.
The world number one had won 16 consecutive slam matches, taking in titles at the US Open and Australian Open and two victories here.
But she had been living extremely dangerously and against Czech Siniakova, the world doubles number one and ranked 42 in singles, she could not find a way back, going down 6-4 6-2.
Osaka had lost her opening set against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Victoria Azarenka and the pattern continued here, with Siniakova breaking to lead 5-4 having saved seven break points.
Osaka has become the expert at digging herself out of holes but she simply could not find her form here and finished with a tally of 38 unforced errors.
The mistakes became wilder as the match wore on, Osaka looking resigned to her fate. A double fault on break point to go 5-2 down put her on the precipice, and Siniakova completed the upset to reach the fourth round at a slam for the first time in singles.
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Novak Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal in the final of the Italian Open on Sunday after beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 in Rome.
The four-time champion – who won the Madrid Open last week – broke in the eighth game on his way to taking the opening set.
Schwartzman rallied in the second, though, to take it on a tie-break before Djokovic asserted his dominance in the third to set up a ninth final in Rome.
The world number one told the tournament’s official website: “He (Nadal) is one of the greatest champions this game has ever seen.
“His mentality, his approach, his resilience, ability to fight back after a long absence from the tour, injuries, surgeries, he’s had it all.
“He keeps on showing to the world why he’s one of the biggest legends of tennis history. I have greatest respect for him.”
Nadal reached his 11th Italian Open final by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4.
The world number two also gained revenge on Tsitsipas, who beat him in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open last week.
Nadal took control of this contest, winning in one hour and 43 minutes and the Spaniard was pleased with his performance.
“[It] is [an] important victory for me because I played a solid match against a good player and a player who is winning a lot of matches on this surface,” said eight-time winner Nadal.
“So winning in straight sets against him is a very positive result. More than this is a feeling that I am playing better every week, every day. That’s important for me.
“I played a little bit better than him. What I had to do is play well. Last week I didn’t play very well in Madrid. Today I did better.”