French Open 2018, Day 6 Round-up: Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev battle through; 4th seed Elina Svitolina ousted
Day 6 at Roland Garros saw some riveting action in both men's and women's singles draws. While Novak Djokovic and World No. 3 Alexander Zverev had to go through stern tests, 4th seed Elina Svitolina suffered a shock straight set defeat in the third round.
Here is a round-up of the top stars who were in action on the red clay on Friday:
Djokovic battles past Bautista Agut
Former champion Djokovic had his moments, cutting a frustrated figure for long periods, as he fought his way to a 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory over a grieving Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the third round. The 20th-seeded player will next take on Fernando Verdasco for a last-eight place.
While Djokovic did go on to win the match, one of the major talking points was him pounding his racket against the ground after missing a simple forehand during the second-set tie-break.
When queried about the incident, the Serb said, “In these kinds of circumstances, sometimes emotions get the worst out of you or the best out of you, whatever you want to call it.
“I’m not proud of doing that, to be honest. I don’t like doing that. But at times, it happens.”
Zverev survives a close call
Second seed Alexander Zverev was stretched to five sets for the second time at Roland Garros. The German youngster, who along with Djokovic is seen as one of the few genuine challengers to Rafael Nadal this year, trailed 1-2 at one point against Damir Dzumhur.
In the end, he held his own and went on to register a 6-2 3-6 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 victory in just under four hours. In what turned out to be the match of the tournament so far, Dzumhur played some spectacular shots which were far above his ranking of 26.
The Bosnian even forced two match points in the deciding set. But Zverev survived when Dzumhur squandered the second, smashing a simple forehand winner right into the net.
Thiem through to next round, Dimitrov crashes out
Dominic Thiem enjoyed a more or less routine victory over Matteo Berrettini of Italy even as he let the second set slip. The seventh-seeded Austrian dropped his serve twice but eventually went on to beat the unseeded Berrettini 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2.
Fourth-seed Grigor Dimitrov's Roland Garros woes continued as he was ousted by Fernando Verdasco on Friday, with the Spaniard winning 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-4. In eight attempts, the Bulgarian has still never reached the second week in Paris. Dimitrov did win the ATP Tour Finals in London last year, but his wait for a grand slam title still goes on.
Meanwhile, Japan's Kei Nishikori saw off Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 to make his way into the fourth round. Nishikori will now face Thiem, who has reached the semifinals at Roland Garros the past two years
Svitolina knocked out, Wozniacki eases into last 16
Elsewhere, there was a shock on Day 6 as fourth seed Elina Svitolina bowed out. The Ukrainian, twice a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros, lost 6-3 7-5 to Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania. Speaking after the match, she said, “Today, really, I was off and couldn’t find my rhythm, my game. I was really struggling.”
The 30-year-old Romanian, who had never won a Grand Slam match before this week, will now face US Open runner-up Madison Keys. Keys saw off Japanese 21st seed Naomi Osaka 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).
Second seed Caroline Wozniacki eased into the fourth round with a crushing 6-0, 6-3 victory over local hope Pauline Parmentier. The Dane will next take on Daria Kasatkina, who beat Maria Sakkari 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, for a place in the last eight.
Wozniacki was so destructive that Parmentier found herself facing the dreaded double bagel at one point with the former up 6-0 5-0 after only an hour of play. However, the World No. 74 saved a little pride with a late rally.