French Open 2018: Alexander Zverev saves match point in five-set win; Elina Svitolina ousted by Mihaela Buzarnescu

Paris: German second seed Alexander Zverev saved a match point and survived a second successive French Open scare on Friday, coming back to defeat Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 to reach the fourth round for the first time.

Zverev, 21, who is seen as Rafael Nadal's principal obstacle to the Spaniard's expected coronation as champion for an 11th time, endured a nightmare outing before claiming victory after almost four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier.

He hit 73 unforced errors, dropped serve eight times and served up seven double faults.

Alexander Zverev celebrates after winning his third round match against Damir Dzumhur at French Open. Reuters

Alexander Zverev celebrates after winning his third round match against Damir Dzumhur at French Open. Reuters

He had to save a match point in the 10th game of the decider before breaking and holding to make the last-16 where he will face either French 15th seed Lucas Pouille or Russia's Karen Khachanov.

"It was an amazing, high level match," said Zverev, bidding to become the first German men's champion in Paris since 1937.

"It was the first time I have won on this court and I hope there are many more to come."

Dzumhur, the 26th seed, was left to regret squandering a host of opportunities.

He served for the match at 6-5 in the fourth set only to be broken to love before battling back from 1-3 down in the decider to go to match point at 5-5.

That was saved by a nerveless out-wide serve from the German who held, then broke for 6-5 before claiming victory when the Bosnian hit long.

Dzumhur finished with 51 winners -- the same as Zverev -- but 68 unforced errors and was broken nine times.

"All I could do was keep fighting," said Zverev who had also needed five sets to beat Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in the second round.

He has now equalled his best ever Slam performance after also making the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.

"He served for the match and I had to save lots of break points in the fourth and fifth sets.

"Sometimes you have to battle to get the win and that's what I did today."

For Zverev it was a 33rd win of the season, the best figures on the tour which has also yielded clay court titles in Munich and Madrid as well as a runners-up spot to Nadal in Rome.

In a dramatic -- if error-plagued match -- there was a worrying moment when Dzumhur accidentally collided with a ball boy as they both chased an airborne dead ball after two games of the fourth set.

The distressed youngster needed to leave Court Philippe Chatrier after receiving a consoling hug from the Bosnian player.

Nishikori brushes aside Simon

Japan's Kei Nishikori made short work of home hope Gilles Simon as he cruised into the fourth round for the fifth time on Friday.

The 28-year-old, seeded 19 in his first Grand Slam since Wimbledon last year after struggling with injury, saw off Simon 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

Nishikori could next face a clash with two-time semi-finalist and seventh seed Dominic Thiem, who plays Italian Matteo Berrettini later in the third round.

On the women's side, fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina surprisingly lost 6-3, 7-5 in the third round against Mihaela Buzarnescu, who never had won a Grand Slam match until this week.

Svitolina reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2015 and 2017 and was coming off a second consecutive title in Rome on red clay.

She also came into the French Open with a chance to get to No 1.

But the 31st-seeded Buzarnescu, a Romanian with a PhD in sports science, continued the surge that has seen her rise nearly 350 spots in the rankings over the past year.

She has not dropped a set yet and will face US Open runner-up Madison Keys in the fourth round.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 19:45:07 IST

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