Novak Djokovic était satisfait de son jeu après sa victoire contre Aljaz Bedene.

Tennis: Roland-Garros: Djokovic and Nadal fit easily, Zverev suffers


The world No. 1 defeated Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene in three sets and the Spaniard defeated Dutchman Botic van De Zandschulp also in three sets. The German had to fight to overtake.

Novak Djokovic was happy with his game after beating Aljaz Bedene.


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic quietly qualified for the round of 16 at Roland-Garros, beating Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, 195th in the world, 6-3 6-3 6-2 on Friday. It’s the 16th time in 17 appearances and the 13th consecutive time that the Serb has reached this level of the competition, he has already won twice at Porte d’Auteuil (2016, 2021) where he is the champion title.

As in his first two rounds, the Serb won’t have to work too hard to get rid of the Slovenian, whom he had already beaten three times in his previous duels.

A break in the opening two sets, two in the last and it was all over for Bedene, who had just one (missed) opportunity to snap Djokovic’s serve for an hour and 44 minutes of play.

“Today was very good”

Asked on the pitch shortly after his victory if he had played “the perfect match”, the world No. 1 admitted he did well although there is still room for improvement. “I’m always very motivated when I step onto the pitch, with the desire to deliver my best level every time. It’s not always possible, but today was very good,” he said in French.

After less than two hours in the 1st round against the Japanese left-hander Yoshihito Nishioka (ATP 99) and the 2 hours 16 to leave the 38th in the world Alex Molcan, new protégé of his historical coach Marian Vajda, Djokovic should come in definitely arrive fresh to meet Diego Schwartzman in the next round.

The Argentine, 16th in the world, who solidly defeated Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (ATP 21) 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 on Friday, should be the Serb’s first serious test.

If their previous six confrontations were always turned in “Nole’s” advantage, Schwartzman has already shown that he can be impressive on clay, he who reached the semi-finals at Roland-Garros in 2020 and had defeated the ocher king Rafael Nadal in the same year in Rome.

The Serb hopes to win Porte d’Auteuil his 21st Grand Slam trophy, which would allow him to equal Nadal’s record since his coronation at the Australian Open in January.

Family reunion for Nadal

A thirteen-time crowned Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros, who qualified for the round of 16 after his “best match” of the tournament at the expense of Dutchman Botic van De Zandschulp (ATP 29), dominated 6-3 6-2 6-4.

His upcoming round of 16 has a family reunion in store for him: he meets world No. 9 Félix Auger-Aliassime – winner of Filip Krajinovic (ATP 55) 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7-2) 7- 5 – who has been working with his uncle and ex-coach Toni Nadal for more than a year.

Betrayed by his left foot ten days before Roland-Garros, in his words consumed by a “chronic and incurable” disease for more than fifteen years, Nadal is currently experiencing an ideal first part of the Parisian fortnight. He didn’t lose a set in his first three games and only 23 games overall.

Under the Friday sun and under the watchful eye of Zinedine Zidane, the Mallorcan spent just over two hours on the pitch, committing just 13 unforced errors for 25 winning shots.

“I’m happy about the win in three sets, for two and a half sets it was my best match of the tournament,” said “Rafa”.

The only tricky moment: In the third set, when he had one ball from 5 games to 0, he later had to deflect a ball from 5 everywhere on serve to win the match.

Nakashima got Zverev going

In this 3rd round, Alexander Zverev (ATP 3) fought another big fight, but defeated the American Brandon Nakashima (ATP 75) 7-6 (7/2) 6-3 7-6 (7/5) in 2 hours 48 and finds the 8th final. The 25-year-old German, a finalist in Madrid and a semi-finalist in Rome in recent weeks, meets the Spaniard Bernabe Zapata (ATP 131), who defeated the American John Isner (see below), for a place in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

In his close match against Nakashima, the Tokyo Olympic champion relied on his big serve, hitting 18 aces and winning 77% of points played on his first serve. That’s a lot, especially since he passed 67% of first serves. And fortunately, because if he managed 50 total winning shots, he made as many unforced errors.

Alcaraz and Kachanov qualified

At the end of the evening, Carlos Alcaraz (ATP 6) and Karen Khachanov (ATP 25) also made it into the round of 16. The 19-year-old Spaniard qualified for his first round of 16 in Porte d’Auteuil by beating American Sebastian Korda (ATP 30) 6-4 6-4 6-2 in three sets.

He will find the Russian in the next round, who he thinks had more trouble eliminating world No. 11 American Cameron Norrie. After 3:37, Khachanov finally won 6:2, 7:5, 5:7, 6:4. This round of 16 will be the first duel between Alcaraz and the Russian.


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