German second seed Alexander Zverev on Friday saved a match point in a comeback to defeat Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur in five sets to reach the French Open fourth round, while former champion Novak Djokovic made the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the 43rd time.
World No. 29 Dzumhur also served for the match in the fourth set, but Zverev clung on and claimed a 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 victory.
Zverev, 21, who is seen as the main threat to Rafael Nadal’s expected coronation as champion for an 11th time, endured a nightmare outing on Court Philippe Chatrier that lasted almost four hours.
He hit 73 unforced errors, dropped serve eight times and served up seven double faults.
He had to save a match point in the 10th game of the decider before breaking and holding to make the last 16 for the first time, where he is to face either French 15th seed Lucas Pouille or Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
The match between Pouille and Khachanov was one of two men’s matches not completed as rain curtailed play at 7:10pm, before being called off for the evening an hour later with the Russian leading 6-3, 7-5, 1-1.
“It was an amazing, high-level match,” Zverev said after his first-ever win on Chatrier. “It was the first time I have won on this court and I hope there are many more to come.”
Zverev, who also had to fight back from two sets to one down in the second round against Serbian Dusan Lajovic, is looking to become the first German man to win the title since 1937.
However, he has never reached a Grand Slam quarter-final, although the longer best-of-five format has worked twice in his favor now at Roland Garros.
Djokovic claimed a hard-fought 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 win over a grieving Roberto Bautista Agut.
The 31-year-old former world No. 1 struggled at times on Court Suzanne Lenglen, but eventually came through the four-set battle in 3 hours, 48 minutes.
Djokovic has now made the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the 43rd time, tying Jimmy Connors on the all-time list, second only to Roger Federer’s tally of 60.
Djokovic, seeded 20 after struggling to find his best form since returning from an elbow injury, is to take on Fernando Verdasco for a last-eight place after the Spaniard knocked out fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov.
The Serbian has now made the second week at Roland Garros for the past nine years in a row.
Bautista Agut was playing in Paris, despite the death of his mother last week.
“Fours hours for the match, I’m a bit tired, Bautista Agut plays with too much patience for me, but I’m very happy to have won the match,” Djokovic said.
Verdasco, 34, inflicted an early exit on Dimitrov, with the Spaniard winning 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-4 in his 350th clay-court match.
Bulgarian Dimitrov, a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, has still never reached the second week at Roland Garros in eight attempts.
“You have to draw the line and, you know, look for the next chapter,” the world No. 5 said.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori made short work of home hope Gilles Simon as he cruised into the fourth round for the fifth time.
The 28-year-old, seeded 19th in his first Grand Slam since Wimbledon last year after struggling with a wrist injury, saw off Simon 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
Nishikori is next to play Austrian Dominic Thiem, the only man to beat Nadal on clay this year, after the seventh seed beat Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-2.
In the women’s singles, Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki eased past Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier 6-0, 6-3.
Second-seeded Wozniacki, a quarter-finalist in Paris last year, is to face Daria Kasatkina for a place in the last eight after the Russian beat Maria Sakkari 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
US Open runner-up Madison Keys saw off Japanese 21st seed Naomi Osaka 6-1, 7-6 (9/7), setting up a last-16 tie with 31st seed Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Buzarnescu, a 30-year-old Romanian with a doctorate in sports sciences who had never won a Grand Slam match before this week, downed Ukraine’s fourth seed Elina Svitolina with a shock 6-3, 7-5 victory.
In the women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and China’s Yang Zhaoxuan defeated Spanish duo Arantxa Parra Santonja and Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the last 16.
In the mixed doubles, Taiwan’s Latisha Chan and Croatia’s Ivan Dodig claimed a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Japanese duo Makoto Ninomiya and Ben McLachlan.
Additional reporting by staff writer
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, whose positive COVID-19 test prompted the NBA to shut down its season, says that the coronavirus has caused him to lose his sense of smell. The Frenchman, whose defensive talents have earned him the nickname “Stifle Tower,” tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, the result bringing the NBA season to an abrupt halt. In social media posts since then, the 27-year-old had said he was feeling better, but on Sunday he tweeted that he was experiencing one of the lesser-known symptoms of the illness. “Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is