French Open favorites Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem enjoyed easy straight-set victories into the third round at Roland Garros on Wednesday.
The No. 2 Djokovic defeated Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-4, 6-3; No. 4 Nadal eased by Dutchman Robin Haase 6-1, 6-4, 6-3; and No. 6 Thiem defeated Italy’s Simone Bolelli 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.
“It was a solid match, solid performance,” said Thiem afterwards. “A little bit of a bad start, 0-3, then it got better and better. And I’m happy that I’m through in three sets.”
Djokovic got the job done in straights but was not at his sharpest as his nervous-looking coach Andre Agassi watched.
“Midway second set until maybe midway third set, that’s where I allowed him to believe more that he can get back into the match, and he started playing better,” Djokovic said. “I felt like maybe I took the foot off the gas a little bit.”
Other Top 10 winners were No. 5 Milos Raonic who came from a set down to beat Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4; and No. 10 David Goffin who defeated the Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Lower-seeded winners were No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 16 Lucas Pouille, No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut who beat Mikhail Kukushkin in four, No. 19 Albert Ramos, No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta who busta-ed Japan’s Taro Daniel in four, and No. 25 Steve Johnson who had an emotional four-set victory over Croat Borna Coric.
Johnson, who last week lost his father, broke down crying after match point, while Coric exploded in anger, smashing his racquet and water bottles.
“I just miss my dad, I wish he was following along — I know he is from upstairs — but it’s just so emotional, it’s hard to describe,” Johnson told Tennis Channel afterwards. “I just know he was looking down on that last point and gave me the strength to finish it off. Emotionally I’m a mess.”
Two Argentines turned upsets on the day when Renzo Olivo ousted No. 12 Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4, and Horacio Zeballos edged No. 23 Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5), 7-6(5), 6-3.
“I’m sorry for Tsonga,” Olivo told the crowd after winning the match resumed from the previous day. “I got home at 1 a.m., it was difficult to sleep. I had a massage, I slept for a few hours, but it was difficult not to think about the restart.”
Matches to look for on Thursday at Roland Garros are (3) Stan Wawrinka vs. Alexandr “The Dog” Dolgopolov, (1) Andy Murray vs. Martin Klizan, (29) Juan Martin del Potro vs. Nicolas Almagro, (30) David Ferrer vs. Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez in an all-Spanish, (18) Nick Kyrgios vs. Kevin Anderson, and (28) Fabio Fognini vs. Andreas Seppi in an all-Spanish.
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