Djokovic Overcomes Fucsovics Burst, Advances At Roland Garros
The third seed let slip a 5-2 lead in the opening set as an inspired Fucsovics roared back into contention early on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The World No. 83 went toe to toe with Djokovic in a series of thrilling exchanges under the lights in Paris, but the 22-time major champion stepped up a gear to comfortably claim the tie-break.
It was largely plain sailing for Djokovic from then on, as he broke Fucsovics’ serve seven times across the second and third sets to complete a two-hour, 44-minute victory. Djokovic struck the ball with power and depth off both wings throughout, a positive sign for the 36-year-old as he bids for a record 23rd major crown and to reclaim the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking.
As opposed to any lapse from Djokovic, a sublime streak of returning from Fucsovics was the basis for his first-set recovery. The Hungarian carved out nine break points in the set but converted only one as Djokovic repeatedly repelled him with precise serving at key moments.
Despite appearing visibly frustrated for a time after losing his early lead, Djokovic’s level did not waver and he completed his victory having won more than half (52/99) of points on return. With his win, he extended his ATP Head2Head series lead against Fucsovics to 5-0.
“I think [I was nervous] because it was 7-6 in one-and-a-half hours,” said Djokovic in his post-match press conference when asked about his struggles closing out the first set. “I mean, if I'm not nervous on the court, there are two reasons. [Either] I'm very loose and comfortable and confident, or I don't care much about playing or winning.
“Nervousness is part of my job, is part of what I do. Sometimes I express it, sometimes I internalise it. At times, you know, I chat with myself. At times I chat with my team. [The] important thing is that whatever happens, that you manage to kind of regroup and go ahead in the right direction.”
Now into the third round at Roland Garros for the 18th consecutive year, Djokovic will take on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina next in Paris after the 29th-seeded Spaniard defeated #NextGenATP Frenchman Luca Van Assche 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5).
That will be a rematch of the pair’s second-round clash in Monte-Carlo last year, when Davidovich Fokina stunned the then-World No. 1 Djokovic in three sets at the ATP Masters 1000 event. Djokovic leads their ATP Head2Head series 2-1 overall, but Davidovich Fokina will look to that most recent meeting for confidence as he prepares to take on the two-time Roland Garros champion.