French Open 2018: Alexander Zverev, Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov survive five-setters to reach 3rd round
Alexander Zverev, Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov all needed five sets to get past their second-round opponents at the French Open.
Paris: Alexander Zverev eventually controlled his nerves to reach the French Open third round with a 2-6 7-5 4-6 6-1 6-2 win over Serbian Dusan Lajovic on Wednesday.
The second-seeded German smashed a racket in frustration before finding his groove and setting up a meeting with 26th- seeded Bosnian Damir Dzumhur.
Zverev has yet to reach the last eight at a Grand Slam but his huge talent told in the end against the world number 60.
The 21-year-old Zverev had to cope with the frustration of an error-riddled start of the match.
He dropped serve twice in the opening set as Lajovic kept his cool and held serve to take the lead on Court One.
Lajovic toyed with the German, who lost his temper when he was broken in the third game of the second set and crushed his racket in frustration.
Horrible unforced errors and ill-timed rushes to the net followed as Zverev struggled for control but he broke back for 3-3 and regained his composure to convert his first set point on Lajovic's serve to level the match.
There were more jitters, though, as he trailed 2-1 in the third when he dropped serve on a double fault. Lajovic went on to bag the set and Zverev had his back to the wall.
But the German, who leads the ATP Race, was fully focused as he raced through the fourth set by sticking closer to the baseline and he ended the match with an unreturnable serve.
Nishikori downs home favourite
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 French Open 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 no 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 set," 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.
Dimitrov wins in mammoth five-setter
A young American man trying an underhanded serve while cramping during a five-setter at the French Open. Hmmmm. Seen that before, haven't we? Except, unlike for 1989 champion Michael Chang, the unusual strategy didn't help result in a victory for Jared Donaldson against Grigor Dimitrov.
The fourth-seeded Dimitrov came back to beat the 21-year-old Donaldson 6-7 (2), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in a second-round marathon that lasted 4 hours, 19 minutes on Court 18 at Roland Garros.
When it ended, Dimitrov leaned forward while raising each knee to give it a kiss — perhaps thanking his legs for carrying him to the win while Donaldson's gave way.
Donaldson, who is ranked 57th, was actually two points from winning when he led 6-5 in the fifth and got to love-30 on Dimitrov's serve. But Dimitrov took the next four points to hold for 6-all.
Dimitrov broke to lead 8-7 and served for the victory, but Donaldson broke right back.
In the next game, though, Donaldson could barely stand, let alone move well.
He double-faulted. Then he tried an underhand serve — not his first of the match, either — and lost the point.
Dimitrov hit a winner to break for a 9-8 edge, Donaldson slowly limped to the sideline for the changeover, and soon enough, it was over.
Chang famously used an underhand service motion while cramping during a fourth-round win against Ivan Lendl on the way to the French Open title 29 years ago.
With inputs from agencies
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