French Open: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal advance to third round

Taylor Byrd
June 1, 2017

To Rafael Nadal's extraordinary list of achievements in Paris, the nine-times French Open champion might well add "Master of Understatement".

Second-seeded Novak Djokovic and fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal sailed through to third round by comfortably winning their respective matches in French Open today (May 31). Nadal has now won 18 of his last 20 sets played on clay and looks like someone who is on a mission to win their first grand slam title since 2014.

An emotional Nadal withdrew from the French Open past year ahead of his third-round match due to a wrist injury and although he is now pain-free, the tournament favourite is aware that his exploits could catch up with him.

Djokovic will next face Argentina's Diego Schwartzman, who stopped Stefano Napolitano of Italy 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.

"I think I played a good match", the Spaniard offered, nearly as a question, when asked about his form in thrashing Robin Haase 6-1 6-4 6-3.

After dropping the opening set against Kontaveit, Muguruza was down a break in the second before coming back. In the first set he played like he wanted to play, and lost 6-1. Olivo converted the next one with a forehand cross-court victor to win 6-4.

"It was really hard for me a year ago", Nadal said. The Austrian, who is the only player to beat Nadal on clay this season, is considered a real dark horse to win the tournament although has been handed a tough draw, and will likely play the in-form David Goffin in the fourth round before Djokovic in the quarters.

The 27-year-old Czech, whose appearance at Roland Garros is her first since an intruder posing as a maintenance man got into her home and stabbed her with a knife in her dominant left hand in December, lost 7-6, 7-6. Having raced through the first set in a little over half an hour, second seed Djokovic established his rhythm and then just pulled away.

Home favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also exited the tournament, unable to turn around a first-round match against Roland Garros debutant Renzo Olivo that had been suspended on Tuesday due to darkness. I mean, he just looks like he's feeling unbelievably confident.

Only five of the last 40 grand slam crowns have eluded those four players.

There would be few in the Roland Garros crowds who would disagree with that analysis - least of all Dutchman Haase, who appeared shell-shocked at the end. "Well, it was an awkward twist, but it was nothing, nothing really major", he said. It was hard not to think about the restart. "And I am happy that I am through in three sets". "Obviously, they know what it is like, they know what you need to be a champion". "It was a little bit of a bad start, falling behind 0-3".

The 2017 French Open runs through May 28 and June 11.

Already the signs were good on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

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