Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas marched into the French Open third round on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Spaniard Pedro Martinez, while Alexander Zverev booked his spot in the third round for for the fourth straight year.
The German sixth seed, a two-time quarter-finalist, trailed 1-3 in the second and third sets but saw off Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/1).
Kei Nishikori reached the third round having won back-to-back five-setters over a total of eight hours on court and admitted: “I feel like I’ve played five matches already.”
The 31-year-old needed four hours to see off Russian 23rd seed Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier. In the first round, he also needed four hours to beat Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi.
The three-time quarter-finalist set a last-32 encounter with Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen.
Tsitsipas, who lost an epic semi-final at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic last year, next faces big-serving American John Isner for a spot in the second week. Tsitsipas holds a 3-2 winning record over Isner, but has prevailed in each of their last three meetings.
He served eight aces and struck 44 winners in a strong display against a stubborn opponent in world number 103 Martinez.
“I’m really happy that my tennis is there, my performance is there and that I’m able to create a really good atmosphere on this court,” said Tsitsipas.
The 22-year-old will be hoping to take advantage of being on the opposite side of the draw to Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. He has never reached a Grand Slam final, but has reached the last four in his last two Major tournaments.
Tsitsipas has been in excellent form on clay this year, winning the Monte Carlo Masters, the ATP event in Lyon and reaching the Barcelona Open final, where he lost to Nadal despite holding a match point.
“I’ve had good weeks this year, I’ve had some good results but I feel like there’s always more,” he added. “I don’t see my performances as extra outstanding, but I’ve been consistent. We’re here at a Grand Slam and it’s a big opportunity… But of course it’s going to be a challenge.”
Zverev will take on Serbia’s Laslo Djere in the third round after he needed to fight back from two sets down in his opening match against qualifier Oscar Otte.
“I’m happy to be through in three sets,” he said. “I’m happy not to have played another five-setter. I think it’s going to be important for me during the course of this tournament.”
Norwegian youngster Casper Ruud continued his excellent year by easing past Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
The 15th seed, who won the title in Geneva last month and has reached three other semi-finals on clay this season, next faces Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Alexander Zverev (GER x6) bt Roman Safiullin (RUS) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-6 (7/1)
Laslo Djere (SRB) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
Kei Nishikori (JPN) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x23) 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Henri Laaksonen (SUI) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x11) 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
Casper Ruud (NOR x15) bt Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) bt Botic van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4
Fabio Fognini (ITA x27) bt Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 6-2
Federico Delbonis (ARG) bt Pablo Andujar (ESP) 4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x5) bt Pedro Martínez (ESP) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
John Isner (USA x31) bt Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 7-6 (7/5)
Pablo Carreño-Busta (ESP x12) bt Enzo Couacaud (FRA) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Marcos Giron (USA) bt Guido Pella (ARG) 7-6 (7/2), 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4
Reilly Opelka (USA x32) bt Jaume Munar (ESP) 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
With AFP Inputs