Novak Djokovic survives first big test in French Open

Novak Djokovic yesterday 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 fright by Argentinian Schwartzman before coming through 5-7 7-5 3-6 6-1 6-1.

Agassi said yesterday he is ready to continue his coaching arrangement with Djokovic at Wimbledon and he revealed he is not being paid by the world number two. Djokovic turned to Agassi after splitting from his long-time coaching team in April. The French Open is their first tournament together, but Agassi must head home to Las Vegas this weekend to fulfil prior arrangements.

Agassi has only been seen sporadically on the tennis tour since retiring, instead focusing on his foundation for education and spending time at home with wife Steffi Graf and their two children. It is unclear how much time the 47-year-old will be prepared to spend with Djokovic, but Wimbledon is on the cards.

Agassi told Eurosport: “It was a surprise for me. I got a call from him late in Monte Carlo after he was done and he wanted to talk tennis and he wanted to talk the possibility of working [together].

“He’s a very inspirational guy for me. I do this on my own time, I do it on my money, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything. I want to help him and I think it helps the game. Him at his best is good for the game and it’s a way I can help him hopefully.”

On Wimbledon, Agassi added: “If he wants me there, I will come and we’ll figure it out. I have a lot of responsibilities, so whatever’s practical and achievable, 100%, I will make the effort.”

Rafael Nadal laid down a marker as he chases his 10th French Open title with his most one-sided ever victory at Roland Garros. The fourth seed and favourite to lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires next Sunday allowed Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili just a single game in a 6-0 6-1 6-0 victory. It is the first time in a completed match at the tournament that Nadal has only lost one game.

Meanwhile, one of the most compelling rivalries of 2016 will be renewed in the third round of the French Open when Andy Murray takes on Juan Martin Del Potro. They met in the Olympic final, with Murray taking gold, but Del Potro reversed the result in the Davis Cup semi-finals a month later, handing the Scot his first home singles loss in Davis Cup.

In the women’s tournament, Venus Williams, just two weeks short of her 37th birthday, was ruthless as she saw off Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-1 to reach the fourth round.


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