Nadal - Djokovic clash still on tracks

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic remain on course for a quarter-final clash after both players recorded straight-sets victories in the French Open second round.

Nadal eased past fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-4 6-3 6-1 while Djokovic overcame a problem with his hip to beat Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 6-1 6-4 6-4.

It means Nadal, who is bidding to clinch his 10th title at Roland Garros, is now only two wins away from the last eight where he could meet Djokovic, who is aiming to lift his first title in Paris.

Nadal - Djokovic clash still on tracks

The Serb had to call for treatment during his win on Court Suzanne Lenglen but he insists the problem is not serious.

“It’s not a concern for the next match, which is the most important thing obviously,” Djokovic said.

“A little bit heavier conditions made the court a little bit more wet and it was pretty slippery.

“So I think that’s when it happened, I made a couple of slides that were quite, I’d say, unusual, with the change of directions.

“And those dynamic movements, jammed the hip a little bit. Thankfully it’s nothing serious. It’s going to be fine.”

Djokovic will now play Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis, who came from two sets down to beat compatriot Bernard Tomic 3-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 8-6.

Kokkinakis, ranked 84th in the world, is considered one of the most talented youngsters on the circuit and Djokovic believes the 19-year-old, along with the likes of Nick Kyrgios and Borna Coric, have bright futures in the game.

“These types of players are truly making a statement with the wins that they had in the last 12 months or so,” Djokovic said.

“So that deserves a lot of praise and respect. I think all of them – Kyrgios, Kokkinakis and Coric – are showing some great skills and potential to be one of the top players.

“But it’s a long way ahead. Of course they are showing some great talent, some skills and movement.

“They all have a complete game and what it takes to get all the way to the top but it’s a very physical sport nowadays.

“Consistency is one of the key words in order to really be one of the contenders for a top five or top 10 place in the world.

“But they all have talent and potential, no doubt about it.”

Kokkinakis had lost both his two previous meetings with Tomic and looked on course for a third defeat when he trailed by two sets, and then 5-2 in the decider.

The Australian wildcard, however, fought back to book a place in the third round and was visibly emotional after he secured the thrilling win.

“It was an emotional celebration,” Kokkinakis said.

“It was just what came to me. It’ s the second time I have come back from two sets to love down and it was kind of good doing it against Bernie because he has gotten me twice this year.

“It’s good to do it in the second round of a grand slam, it meant a lot to me, that match and how it happened. I’m really happy.”

Britain’s Andy Murray is also through after beating Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1 and the Scot will now play Krygios in round three.

There were also wins David Ferrer, Marin Cilic, David Goffin and Jack Sock but 16th seed John Isner is out after the American lost to France’s Jeremy Chardy.

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