Novak, Rafa hit milestones

Novak Djokovic stretches to return a dropshot by Belgian veteran Steve Darcis during their French Open second round clash. The Serb prevailed in straight sets despite making 42 unforced errors.
Novak Djokovic stretches to return a dropshot by Belgian veteran Steve Darcis during their French Open second round clash. The Serb prevailed in straight sets despite making 42 unforced errors.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Djokovic wins 50th match at Roland Garros, Nadal claims 200th win in Majors

PARIS • World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and nine-time champion Rafael Nadal racked up personal Grand Slam milestones on Thursday as they moved into the French Open third round.

Top seed Djokovic, looking for a Roland Garros title to complete a career Grand Slam, claimed his 50th win at the clay-court tournament by seeing off Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

It was the Serb's third win in three career meetings with Darcis, who dumped Nadal out of Wimbledon in 2013. But it was a far from a smooth display from the 11-time Grand Slam winner and three-time French Open runner-up who committed 42 unforced errors.

"He plays with a lot of speed, is good from the baseline and it was not easy for me to play the points the way I wanted," Djokovic said of 32-year-old Darcis. "He has a lot of talent and it was tough."

Djokovic next takes on Britain's Slovenian-born Aljaz Bedene, who reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-2 win over Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

Nadal became just the eighth man to rack up 200 Grand Slam match wins as he saw off Argentina's world No. 99 Facundo Bagnis 6-3, 6-0, 6-3.

  • SELECTED RESULTS

  • Men's singles 2nd rd

    Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Steve Darcis (Bel) 7-5 6-3 6-4, Roberto Bautista (Esp) bt Paul-Henri Mathieu (Fra) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-1, Dominic Thiem (Aus) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Esp) 7-5 6-4 7-6(7-3), Rafa Nadal (Esp) bt Facundo Bagnis (Arg) 6-3 6-0 6-3, Aljaz Bedene (Gbr) bt Pablo Carreno (Esp) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 4-6 5-7 6-2, Pablo Cuevas (Uru) bt Quentin Halys (Fra) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 7-6(8-6), Tomas Berdych (Cze) bt Malek Jaziri (Tun) 6-1 2-6 6-2 6-4, Ernests Gulbis (Lat) bt Joao Sousa (Por) 6-2 7-5 6-3, Borna Coric (Cro) bt Bernard Tomic (Aus) 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (8-6).

    Women's singles 2nd rd

    Pauline Parmentier (Fra) bt Irina Falconi (USA) 6-3 6-1, Kiki Bertens (Ned) bt Camila Giorgi (Ita) 6-4 6-1, Yulia Putintseva (Kaz) bt Andrea Petkovic (Ger) 6-2 6-2, Karin Knapp (Ita) bt Anastasija Sevastova (Lat) 6-3 6-4, Timea Bacsinszky (Sui) bt Eugenie Bouchard (Can) 6-4 6-4, Ana Ivanovic (Srb) bt Kurumi Nara (Jpn) 7-5 6-1, Carla Suarez Navarro (Esp) bt Wang Qiang (Chn) 6-1 6-3, Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) bt Ana Konjuh (Cro) 6-4 3-6 6-0, Serena Williams (USA) bt Teliana Pereira (Bra) 6-2, 6-1.

Nadal, 29, dropped the first two games against Bagnis but then won 18 of the next 22 to ease into a last-32 clash against Spanish compatriot Marcel Granollers.

"The most important thing is a victory in the second round more than the 200 victories," said Nadal, who now has a 72-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros and only dropped three games in his opening victory over Sam Groth of Australia.

Roger Federer, missing from the French Open this year, tops the all-time list of Grand Slam matches won on 302. Djokovic is sixth on the list with 216 after his win yesterday.

Earlier, dangerman Dominic Thiem enhanced his growing reputation by reaching the third round for the first time with a 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) win over Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

The 22-year-old Austrian - the youngest player in the top 15 - could face Nadal in the fourth round.

Away from the Roland Garros courts, Maria Sharapova was named as one of four Russian players to compete in women's singles at August's Olympics in Rio, even though she has been suspended from competition after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium.

According to Shamil Tarpishchev, the International Olympic Committee member and president of the Russian Tennis Federation, "whether she competes or not should be decided by the end of the first week of Roland Garros". AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

FRENCH OPEN Day 6: Singtel TV Ch114/115 & StarHub Ch208/209, 5pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2016, with the headline 'Novak, Rafa hit milestones'. Print Edition | Subscribe