Defending champion Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal each recorded straight-set wins on Friday in their respective third-round matches at the French Open in Paris.
The top-ranked Djokovic cruised into the fourth round following his 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win over Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia. The 20-time Grand Slam champion recorded 30 winners and committed just 18 unforced errors to dispatch Bedene in 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Djokovic’s next foe is No. 15 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. Should the Serbian defeat Schwartzman for the seventh time in as many career meetings, he’ll set up a potential quarterfinal clash against No. 5 Nadal.
Nadal kept up his end of the bargain on Friday by posting a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands.
“Today has been a very good test and very positive test, because I was able to play my best match of the tournament so far, without any doubt,” the Spaniard said after reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros for the 17th time. “For two sets and a half I was playing at a very positive level.”
Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, advanced to the fourth round to face No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 21-year-old Canadian registered 16 aces and won 85 percent of his first-serve points in a 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2), 7-5 win over Filip Krajinovic of Serbia.
Auger-Aliassime is coached by Nadal’s uncle, Toni.
“I don’t know if I need insight on how Rafa plays. I think we all know what he does well. I don’t think Toni will tell me anything new about how Rafa plays,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But we had the discussion, it was black and white from the first time we started working together we knew it was a possibility that eventually I would play Rafa when I’m working with Toni.
“And now he’s present here in this Grand Slam. But I think Toni will watch from a neutral place and enjoy the match. From my part, it’s another match, another opportunity to try to play a good match and win, but of course, it’s very difficult.”
Schwartzman set up his match with Djokovic by posting a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 18 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. The 29-year-old Schwartzman took advantage of 59 unforced errors to end the match in two hours, 17 minutes.
Third seed Alexander Zverev of Germany needed a pair of tiebreaker victories to dispatch Brandon Nakashima 7-6 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (5). Zverev, who smashed 18 aces, trailed Nakashima 6-5 in the third set and 3-1 early in the ensuing tiebreak before winning five of the last six points.
Sixth-seeded Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz defeated No. 27 seed Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. The 19-year-old budding star had lost to Korda on clay earlier this year at Monte Carlo.
“In the early matches, I’m trying to have fun out there,” Alcaraz said. “I love playing tennis and playing on these courts, so I’m enjoying every second.”
Alcaraz set up a fourth-round clash with 21st seed Karen Khachanov of Russia, who eliminated British 10th seed Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.
Also on Friday, Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles secured a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 win over No. 23 John Isner.
–Field Level Media