Novak Djokovic kept cruising at the French Open burying Swiss “lucky loser” Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 on Lenglen to advance to the third round for a 14th time.
The Serb’s road doesn’t look to get nay tougher with qualifier Salvatore Caruso ahead. Ranked No. 147, the Italian Caruso booked his first Slam third round stunning French fav Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
“Don’t know much about him, to be honest,” Djokovic said looking ahead. “I’m going to have to do my homework, do analysis on him. I watched him play a little bit today when I was waiting for my match. I saw he came from qualifications. He won what, now, five matches? So there is a lot of confidence. He has nothing to lose. I’m sure he’s going to be very motivated to play his best.”
After a tough opener, Alexander Zverev looked sharp in a good win over Michael Ymer 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(3). Zverev did lose a break lead in the third, but after so many tight matches, he’ll take it.
“I think I’m playing well again,” said Zverev. “I think a lot of tight matches have helped me in Geneva and here in the first round. Today, I was swinging at the ball quite nicely and hitting it very aggressively and it was a very good match for me.
“In important moments, I’m finally being very aggressive and stepping up. I think especially against John in the fifth set I stepped up a lot and this is, I think, what I’m happiest about.”
Zverev will now put his 6-match win streak on the line against Dusan Lajovic who toppled French qualifier Elliot Benchetrit 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
2018 runner-up Dominic Thiem wasn’t at his best again, but the gagging Alexander Bublik helped him out by failing to serve out the fourth and force a decider. Thiem leveled and broke late to get a tough 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5 victory.
“Today was very difficult,” said Thiem. “It was a tough match-up for me because there were almost no rallies… He gave me no rhythm at all. He did it very well, actually… I was playing really bad once I got into the rally, which made it even more difficult. Somehow the fire never got there. It was four close sets, only two hours 30, almost a fifth.”
Struggling with a right knee issue, Juan Martin del Potro somehow managed to limp across the finish line to win his first 5-setter at the French and deny Yoshito Nishioka 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-2 in 3 hours, 46 minutes.
“I slid and I lost my balance, and I hurt my hip, and this also resounded in my knee. I felt a weird feeling, which worried me,” Del Potro said. “And after all I have gone through, my feelings in my knee, I had to be careful and fight mentally during those games to make the best decision and decide what I had to do to play correctly.
“It was costing me to move and to play, but if you’re strong mentally, the passion, the desire to play and to compete is what takes over. And that’s how I won.””
Del Potro will now face Australian Jordan Thompson who ended 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic’s run.
Also, Roberto Bautista Agut eliminated the final American man beating Taylor Fritz. Gael Monfils coasted past Adrian Mannarino. He’ll now face another countryman on Saturday in Antoine Hoang who upset Fernando Verdasco in four.
Lucas Pouille was close to the exits before the darkness fell on Chatrier. The French No. 2 was down two sets to one against Martin Klizan when play was stopped.
Kyle Edmund had to retire due to a knee against Pablo Cuevas and Borna Coric was also a winner.
Tomorrow, Rafael Nadal will try to beat David Goffin for a fourth time on clay. Roger Federer gets sent to Lenglen to take on Casper Ruud, son of the former Top 40 Christian Ruud who played when Federer first joined the tour.
Also on Lenglen is a good clash between Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov. The pair have split eight meetings. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Kei Nishikori also headline.
FRIDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe CHATRIER Début à 11h00
Petra MARTIC (CRO)  v Karolina PLISKOVA (CZE) 
Pas avant 12h00 (fin de partie 7/6(4) 2/6 6/3 3/1)
Martin KLIZAN (SVK) v Lucas POUILLE (FRA)
Garbiñe MUGURUZA (ESP)  v Elina SVITOLINA (UKR)
David GOFFIN (BEL) v Rafael NADAL (ESP) 
Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE)  v Filip KRAJINOVIC (SRB)
Court Suzanne LENGLEN Début à 11h00
1 SD 3 Elise MERTENS (BEL) v Anastasija SEVASTOVA (LAT)
2 SM 3 Casper RUUD (NOR) v Roger FEDERER (SUI) 
3 SD 3 Sloane STEPHENS (USA) v Polona HERCOG (SLO)
4 SM 3 Stan WAWRINKA (SUI)  v Grigor DIMITROV (BUL)
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