Former champion Novak Djokovic reached the French Open third round for the 13th consecutive year by beating Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday.
Djokovic, the 2016 Roland Garros champion and former world number one, is seeded 20 this year after struggling to rediscover his best form after returning from a right elbow injury.
He wasn’t at his best on Court Suzanne Lenglen, but goes on to face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the last 16.
The Serbian 12-time Grand Slam champion fired 39 winners but 33 unforced errors and was broken three times by Munar, the world 155.
“I am very happy to be here on Suzanne Lenglen and see so many people and see the support,” said Djokovic.
“Jaume is a great player, he has lots of quality and good concentration. I congratulate him on a great match today.”
Bautista Agut, the 13th seed, saw off Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 7-5, 6-3, but Czech 17th seed Tomas Berdych lost a rain-interrupted first-round match to home hope Jeremy Chardy on the showpiece Court Philippe Chatrier 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (10/8), 1-6, 5-7, 6-2.
The unlikely adventure of Argentinian world No 190 Marco Trungelliti, who became the eighth lucky loser in the draw after driving back to Paris from Barcelona, came to an end as he lost 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 to Italian Marco Cecchinato in the second round.
DIMITROV COMES THROUGH MARATHON CLASH
Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov clinched a marathon 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 victory over American Jared Donaldson to book a last-32 spot.
The Bulgarian was pushed all the way by world No 57 Donaldson in a match that lasted four hours and 19 minutes, but grabbed the crucial break in the 17th game of the deciding set as his opponent started to struggle with cramp.
Dimitrov will face dangerous Spaniard Fernando Verdasco next as he looks to reach the fourth round in Paris for the first time.
NISHIKORI FIGHTS BACK TO BEAT PAIRE
Japan’s Kei Nishikori staged a comeback on Philippe Chatrier Court to down home favourite Benoit Paire 6-3, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and reach the third round.
The 19th seed, who is playing his first Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon last year after struggling with a wrist injury, outlasted his opponent in a topsy-turvy battle.
The 28-year-old finally got the better of world number 51 Paire in a dramatic fifth set which saw three consecutive breaks of serve before Nishikori saved four break points to serve it out.
“It was a very difficult match, he played a really good second and third sets,” he said.
“I changed some things and played good in the last two sets.”
The former US Open finalist, who has reached the last eight twice in Paris, will next face Frenchman Gilles Simon who put out American 12th seed Sam Querrey for a place in the second week.
ZVEREV SURVIVES FIVE-SET TEST
German second seed Alexander Zverev came back from two sets to one down to beat Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 2-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and reach the third round.
The 21-year-old, bidding to become the first German man to take the title in Paris since 1937, next plays Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur, the 26th seed, for a place in the last 16.