Djokovic survives five-set Schwartzman scare

Defending champion Novak Djokovic was pushed all the way to five sets before beating unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman at Roland Garros on Friday.

Schwartzman led two sets to one before Djokovic finally wrested control away from his opponent, racing through the last two sets in quick time to complete a 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

For a large stretch of the match, however, Djokovic was struggling on court. He finished with 55 unforced errors and at one point got into an argument with umpire Carlos Ramos after receiving a conduct warning.

The Serb actually started strongly, opening up a 4-1 lead, only to go on and lose the first set amid a flurry of errors.

He hit back to take the second set thanks to a late break, but Schwartzman again had his measure in the third, recovering from 0-40 down to serve out the set.

The last two sets were one-way traffic, although Djokovic crossed swords with the umpire after receiving a second warning for unsportsmanlike conduct, having earlier received a first for slow play.

Despite his unhappiness with the official, Djokovic was able to focus on finishing the job, winning 12 of the last 14 games as Schwartzman's challenge faltered.

"I expected a tough match, there were lots of exchanges from the baseline and the conditions were heavy," said Djokovic.

"I congratulate Diego on a great battle. He played very, very well."

Next up for Djokovic is Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who beat Lucas Pouille 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 in another energy-sapping five-setter.

Others to advance to the last 16 earlier in the day included tournament favourite Rafa Nadal, who dropped just one game against Nikoloz Basilashvili, as well as fifth and sixth seeds Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem.

Belgian 10th seed David Goffin suffered a freak accident when he got caught up in the court covers, forcing him to abandon his third-round tie with Horacio Zeballos with an ankle injury.

All of Friday’s third-round results

19-Albert Ramos (Spain) beat 16-Lucas Pouille (France) 6-2 3-6 5-7 6-2 6-1
2-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-1
6-Dominic Thiem (Austria) beat 25-Steve Johnson (U.S.) 6-1 7-6(4) 6-3
4-Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) 6-0 6-1 6-0
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
Horacio Zeballos (Argentina) beat 10-David Goffin (Belgium) 4-5 (Goffin retired)
5-Milos Raonic (Canada) beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spain) 6-1 1-0 (Garcia-Lopez retired)