Novak Djokovic claimed he is “going in the right direction” as he cleared the latest hurdle in the defence of his French Open title.
The world number one is safely through to the third round after dispatching Slovakia’s Alex Molcan in straight sets, 6-2 6-3 7-6 (4).
“Well, so far so good,” said Djokovic. “I’m pleased with the way I’m feeling on the court, the way I have been striking the ball.
“I think also today was under these kind of challenging conditions and playing against specialist on clay, someone that is a tricky opponent. It was never going to be an easy match, but I thought I performed very well.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) May 25, 2022
“In the third set, you know, I was a break up, and I allowed him to come back into the match.
“Nevertheless I held my nerves and played well in the tie-break. I’m just glad to play the way I have been playing the first two rounds.
“Everything is going in the right direction. I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”
Next up for Djokovic will be Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, ranked 195 in the world.
Third seed Alexander Zverev admitted he was already on the beach after slipping two sets behind against Argentina’s Sebastian Baez.
But the German battled back to beat his 21-year-old opponent, saving a match point on his way to a 2-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 7-5 win.
“I couldn’t have played any worse,” Zverev said. “I just tried to find a rhythm and did that. I’m happy still being in the tournament right now.
“I was planning my holiday in Monaco, where I was going to go and who I was going with and that relaxed me, thinking about the beach.”
Teenage Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz, tipped as a potential title winner this year, also had to save a match point on his way to a five-set win over veteran clay-courter Albert Ramos Vinolas.
Alcaraz, 19, was staring down the barrel of a four-set defeat but bravely hung on to force a tie-break and, after slipping 3-0 down in the decider, clawed his way back to beat 34-year-old Ramos Vinolas 6-1 6-7 (7) 5-7 7-6 (2) 6-4.
Rafael Nadal remains on course for a blockbuster quarter-final against Djokovic.
The 13-time champion showed no signs of the recent recurrence of a foot injury as he swatted aside France’s Corentin Moutet 6-3 6-1 6-4 in the night match.