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By Chris Oddo | Friday June 2, 2017

 
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic found himself in a big hole early but surged back to win 12 of the final 14 games to book his spot in week two in Paris.

Photo Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty

Novak Djokovic’s Roland Garros title defense ran into some serious opposition in the form of pugnacious yet diminutive Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, but after falling behind two sets to one, the 12-time major champion roared back to turn those question marks to exclamation points.

More: Nadal Cruises through Round Three Squeaky Clean

The No.2 seed won 12 of the final 14 games and improved his five-set record to 28-9, notching a 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over the World No.41 to book a round of 16 encounter in Paris with Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.

Ramos-Vinolas edged Lucas Pouille of France, 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.

“I was mentally still, you know, strong and as calm as I could be, even though I was two sets to one down,” Djokovic said after the back-and-forth tussle. “I kept believing I could break his resistance. It was just too many unforced errors from myself.”

Schwartzman won a lot of fans with his spirited, speedy play in this match, and he did more than impress with his style. He charged back twice from a break down in set one to take the opener and then reclaimed the momentum in the third set when he converted his third break point to take a 5-3 lead and then saved four break points in the ensuing game to grab hold of a two sets to one lead.

But all of Schwartzman’s energized earnestness had taken a toll on his body, and Djokovic quickly ratcheted up his focus to lay claim to the run of play.

He never gave it back.

As the Argentine, who fell to 0-13 against the Top 10, struggled, Djokovic surged. He dropped only 11 points on serve in the final two sets and broke serve six times on eight opportunities.

Djokovic concluded festivities at the three hour and 18 minute mark, a hard-fought winner of ten Roland Garros matches in a row. The victory also moved Djokovic into a tie Guillermo Vilas for third all-time on the French Open win list with 58 wins. His lifetime record now stands at 58-11 and he will prepare to improve upon it when he meets Ramos-Vinolas for the fourth time.


Djokovic has won all three of their battles in straight sets, including one on clay.

 

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