ATP Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic sets possible Rafael Nadal clash

Tennis - Djokovic defeated Diego Schwartzman in straight sets to reach the Roland Garros quarter-final

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic sets possible Rafael Nadal clash

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Diego Schwartzman for the seventh time in as many encounters to reach the Roland Garros quarter-final. Novak will play in the last eight in Paris for the 16th time and the 13th in a row since 2010, moving three wins away from the title defense.

Five years ago, Diego led two sets to one against Novak in Paris before falling in five sets. Today, the Argentine was far from that pace, as the Serb beat him 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes. Djokovic defended seven out of eight break points to keep the pressure on the other side.

Novak took over half of the return points and turned them into six breaks from 11 opportunities. Djokovic had a similar number of winners and unforced errors, and Schwartzman could not follow that pace after counting to almost 50 unforced mistakes.

They stayed close to each other in the most extended rallies, and Novak took charge in the shortest and mid-range exchanges to control the pace and set a possible quarter-final clash against Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic is through to his 16th Roland Garros quarter-final.

Djokovic saved a couple of break chances in the opener's third game to avoid an early setback and grabbed a break at 15 in the next one to forge the advantage.

Pushing strong on the return, the Serb created four break chances in game six and seized the last one after the Argentine's double fault to move 5-1 ahead and serve for the set. Novak held at love a few minutes later to wrap up the opener 6-1 in 35 minutes.

Schwartzman broke in the second set's second game after Djokovic's forehand error and brought the next one home to open a handful 3-0 lead. The defending champion pulled a break back in game five with a forehand winner and gained a massive boost.

Novak erased three break points in the next one to lock the result at 3-3 and broke at love a few minutes later to move ahead. Losing ground in those moments, Diego got broken for the third straight time at 3-5 and allowed Novak to rattle off six consecutive games and forge a massive advantage.

Djokovic fended off a break chance in the third set's fifth game and made a crucial break in the next one after Schwartzman's loose backhand. Diego saved a match point in game eight to prolong his chances before Novak emerged at the top with a hold at love at 5-3.

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal Diego Schwartzman