Former champion Novak Djokovic has entered the third round without dropping a set as he continues his comeback from injury. The other main contenders in the bottom half of the draw, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori required five sets to progress into the round of 32, while Dominic Thiem and the top Frenchman Lucas Pouille are up by two sets to one as their matches were suspended in fading light on Wednesday.
Djokovic, the 2016 champion who was sidelined last year after Wimbledon by an elbow injury and has struggled since, needed a tie-break in the first set as he beat the Spaniard Jaume Munar 7-6(1),6-4,6-4 on court Suzanne-Lenglen. He next faces another Spaniard, 13th seeded Roberto Bautista Agut who had a straight sets win over the Colombian Santiago Giraldo, 6-4,7-5,6-3.
Second seeded Alexander Zverev came back after being down 1-2 in sets against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia but finished strongly to claim a 2-6,7-5,4-6,6-1,6-2 win and now faces the 26th seeded Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia Herzegovina who also needed five sets to get past the Moldovian Radu Albot 6-3,6-3,5-7,1-6,7-5.
The fourth seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov survived a major scare as he required four hours and twenty minutes to overcome a gallant Jared Donaldson in five sets 6-7(2),6-4,4-6,6-4,10-8. The 21 year old American struggled due to cramps in the later stages of the match. It was the Bulgarian’s 50th match win in grand slams, he now plays the 34 year old Spanish left hander Fernando Verdasco who had a 6-3,6-2,6-2 win over the Argentine Guido Andreozzi.
There were mixed results for French players on Day 4, Japan’s Kei Nishikori won in five sets against the flamboyant Benoit Paire, 6-3,2-6,4-6,6-2,6-3. However the 32nd seeded Gael Monfils had a 6-2,6-4,6-4 win over the Austrian Martin Klizan. The unseeded Giles Simon upset the American Sam Querrey 1-6,7-6(3),6-4,6-1 to advance to the third round.
The unseeded Jeremy Chardy resumed his match against the Tomas Berdych leading by two sets, but the 17th seed from the Czech Republic fought gallantly before going down in five sets. Chardy won 7-6(5),7-6(8), 1-6,5-7,6-2 on court Phillip Chattrier and now plays another Frenchman Pierre Hugues Herbert in the second round.
Dominic Thiem was playing the 18 year old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and leads by two sets to one as the match was called off due to fading light and Lucas Pouille of France also leads the Briton Cameron Norrie by two sets to one. Other players to advance on Day 4 were the Russian Karen Khachanov who beat the Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez, the conqueror of the 2015 champion Stanislas Wawrinka, the Italians Matteo Berrettini and Marco Trungelliti.
The 10th seeded Pablo Carreno Busta prevailed in four sets against the Argentine Frederico Delbonis 7-6(0),7-6(2),3-6,6-4. Eighth seeded David Goffin who came from a two set deficit in his opening round match against Robin Haase, easily beat the Frenchman Corentin Moutet 7-5,6-0,6-1.
In the women’s section of the draw, the top seed Simona Halep of Romania is the last player through to the second round as she came from a set down to beat the American Alison Riske 2-6,6-1,6-1. The reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki beat the Spaniard Georgina Garcia Perez 6-1,6-0, while the U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens of the U.S., beat Poland’s Magdalena Frech 6-3,6-2.
Madison Keys beat fellow American Caroline Dolehide 6-4,6-1. Other winners include the Russian Daria Kasatkina, Camila Giorgi of Italy, fourth seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, Naomi Osaka of Japan, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, Petra Kvitova and Barbara Strycova of the Czech Republic and the Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan and Qiang Wang of China lead the Asian challenge into the round of 32.
There were two minor upsets as the 32nd seeded Alize Cornet lost 7-6(2), 4-6,2-6 to Pauline Parmentier in an all French second round encounter, while Maria Sakkari of Greece took out Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, seeded 23rd, 7-5,6-3. Romanian Katerina Siniakova also reached the round of 32.
The following is the list of matches to be played in the top half of the men’s draw on Day 5 with my pick mentioned first :-
Rafael Nadal (1) v. Guido Pella (-)
Marin Cilic (3) v. Hubert Hurkacz (-)
Jan Lennard Struff (-) v. Steve Johnson (-)
Fabio Fognini (18) v. Elias Ymer (-)
Ruben Bemelmans (-) v. Jurgen Zopp (-)
Denis Shapovalov (24) v. Maximilian Marterer (-)
Richard Gasquet (29) v. Malek Jaziri (-)
Kyle Edmund (16) v. Marton Fucsovics (-)
Mischa Zverev (-) v. Sergiy Stakhovsky (-)
Pablo Cuevas (6) v. Kevin Anderson (-)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (31) v. Christian Ruud (-)
Diego Schwartzman (11) v. Adam Pavlasek (-)
Borna Coric (-) v. Thomas Fabbiano (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (5) v. Julien Benneteau (-)
John Isner (9) v. Horacio Zeballos (-)
Pierre Hugues Herbert (-) v. Jeremy Chardy (-)