Novak Djokovic can move one step closer to defending his title on Friday when he takes on the diminutive Argentinean Diego Schwartzman in the third round at Roland Garros. The Serbian has had it easy so far but might find a bit more of a challenge against a tricky clay courter like Schwartzman.
Schwartzman needed all he could muster in round one to see off the rising lucky loser Andrey Rublev, coming from a break down in the fifth set to eventually win 9-7 but had it much easier in his second round. He played another player from qualifiers in Stefano Neopolitano, who couldn’t repeat the magic of his round one victory over Mischa Zverev. The live rankings do currently project Schwartzman moving back to his career high of 34 but it seems unlikely he holds on to that spot, or moves on from it given the gargantuan task ahead of him in his next match.
Djokovic put in a fairly efficient performance in round two, reeling off a second straight victory in straights. “Midway second set until maybe midway third set, that’s where I allowed him to believe more that he can get back into the match, and he started playing better, I felt like maybe I took the foot off the gas a little bit.” Djokovic said of his performance. For now, it won’t really matter if Djokovic has minor blips as he may not even give away sets, never mind be in danger of losing matches. Meanwhile, much is being made of the decision for the World No. 2 to appoint Andre Agassi as his coach although it is hard to see the true impact he will have at this stage, with much tougher battles to come later on. What he offers there may be more visible, though he won’t be on the sidelines to see it at least this time next week.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets