It took Novak Djokovic five sets to get past 41st seed Diego Schwartzman

It took Novak Djokovic five sets to get past 41st seed Diego Schwartzman

Novak Djokovic survived the first serious test of his French Open credentials by fighting back from two sets to one down to beat Diego Schwartzman.

The defending champion had reached round three without dropping a set despite not playing his best.

But he was given a real fright by Argentinian Schwartzman before coming through 5-7 7-5 3-6 6-1 6-1.

Schwartzman, ranked 41, has never beaten a top-10 player but he has tested the likes of Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori this season.

The 24-year-old is only 5ft 7in tall but his shots pack a real punch and he shocked Djokovic by coming from a break down to take the opening set.

Novak Djokovic, right, talks to Argentina's Diego Schwartzman after their third round match today.
Novak Djokovic, right, talks to Argentina's Diego Schwartzman after their third round match today.

Djokovic, with coach Andre Agassi sat impassively in the stands, looked to have turned things around when he claimed the second set but Schwartzman was not finished.

At times, the second seed resembled the player whose dominance of the game was total only 12 months ago.

But there were too many unforced errors - 55 in total - and at costly times.

After Schwartzman broke for 6-5, Djokovic had four chances to force a tie-break but could not take any of them, the crowd feeding off the Argentinian's energy.

But maintaining such intensity over five sets is extremely difficult and one of the reasons the format favours the top players.

Djokovic raced into a 4-0 lead at the start of the fourth set, with his only blip coming when he dropped serve in a fiery fifth game.

Umpire Carlos Ramos penalised Djokovic a first serve for a time violation and then gave him another warning for bad language.

Djokovic argued his case while the crowd whistled and jeered, but it did not disrupt his momentum.

Schwartzman had given all he had and the champion lives to fight another day.

More on this topic

Nadal resists Thiem challenge to win 12th French Open titleNadal resists Thiem challenge to win 12th French Open title

The best moments from day 13 at the French OpenThe best moments from day 13 at the French Open

Federer finds crumbs of comfort in latest French Open defeat to NadalFederer finds crumbs of comfort in latest French Open defeat to Nadal

The best moments from day 12 at the French OpenThe best moments from day 12 at the French Open

More in this Section

Gosling nets late winner as Bournemouth end losing streak with Chelsea scalpGosling nets late winner as Bournemouth end losing streak with Chelsea scalp

Stubborn Norwich stop in-form Leicester from extending winning streakStubborn Norwich stop in-form Leicester from extending winning streak

Fleck hits the spot as Sheffield United see off Aston VillaFleck hits the spot as Sheffield United see off Aston Villa

Wood on target for Burnley against patched-up NewcastleWood on target for Burnley against patched-up Newcastle


Lifestyle

Want to be cultured this Christmas? From TV to podcasts to books, Ed Power has the definite list of everything you missed this year - so you can curl up on the couch and catch upThe definite list of everything you missed this year

Artist Ciara Rodgers teaches older people how to rediscover their creativity and regain confidence, says Rowena WalshBrush with art: Discovering your creative side in later life

Furniture, paintings, jewellery and silver are on offer at James Adam in Dublin, writes Des O’SullivanAll set for home run: See what's on offer at the James Adam sale in Dublin

It’s not too late to hunt out a unique gift. Des O’Sullivan previews sales in the lead-up to the festive seasonA flurry of auctions in Munster sets the scene for Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner