FO Day 4 notes: Dimitrov battles epic 5-setter, Djokovic wins but unhappy, Zverev shakily pulls through

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 30: NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) during day four match of the 2018 French Open 2018 on May 30, 2018, at Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. (Photo by Chaz Niell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 30: NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) during day four match of the 2018 French Open 2018 on May 30, 2018, at Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. (Photo by Chaz Niell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Grigor Dimitrov saved his match after being two points away from losing to Jared Donaldson, while Alexander Zverev had to go five sets to make the third round. American Sam Querry went out early but Novak Djokovic defeated qualifier Jaume Munar.

Fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov had to go the distance to battle back 21-year-old American Jared Donaldson in an epic five-setter that ended in a marathon 10-8 in the last set, with the match clocking in over four hours, 6-7(2), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8. At one point in the fifth, the American led 6-5, but cramps and fatigue prevented Donaldson from being able to close it out and the world No. 5 was able to break back and battle through to clinch the win, kissing his knees after the match to thank his legs from buckling under.

Novak Djokovic wasn’t pushed in his match to that degree, but he still wasn’t happy with his performance despite his straight sets victory, having to get through a first set tie break against the Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar — the second seeded player from Rafael Nadal’s tennis academy — 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-4.

“I went through my ups and downs, and not really satisfied with my performance,” Djokovic said after the match. “I just played enough in the right moments to win the match. So hopefully the level will increase and will get better in the next match.”

Alexander Zverev is coming off an excellent clay season, but was down a set to another Serbian player, Dusan Lajovic, and had to fight through the second set, but finished easily after being down two sets and finally regaining proper form, closing it out, 2-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

“We’re not going to overthink it: ‘Oh, I’m two sets to one down. What am I going to do? How am I going to play the next point?’ We try to play our best. We try to maybe change a few tactics and see how we can win the next point and the next game.”

Zverev has won three Masters 1000’s and made two clay tournament finals, but he’s looking to establish himself in grand slams past the fourth round.

Kei Nishikori has had mixed results all year, coming back from injury and rehabilitation, but has surged during clay season, showing positive signs of a real comeback by making the Monte Carlo finals and the quarterfinals in Rome.

No. 51 Frenchman Benoit Paire pushed the Japanese player to five sets, but Nishikori rallied to win, 6-3, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

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Clay court specialist and world No. 8 Dominic Thiem was leading sensation up-and-comer Stefanos Tsitispas 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 before fading light suspended play.

Petra Kvitova is continuing her sublime streak and put on a nearly flawless match against Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena 6-0, 6-4 in a match that lasted just an hour.

Australian Open champ Caroline Wozniacki also beat a Spaniard, Georgina Garcia in ruthless fashion, also in about an hour, 6-1, 6-0.

U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens pulled in a separate win over Polish qualifier Magdelena Frech, 6-2, 6-2. Compatriot Madison Keys, also the U.S. Open finalist, defeated another compatriot, Caroline Dolehide, in two sets as well, 6-4, 6-1.

But Simona Halep, seeded first, had to find her rhythm after being down the first set against American Alison Riske, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.

“I think the nerves are really good. It means that you care about what you are doing and your desire is really big,” said Halep, who has made two finals at Roland Garros.

Second round matches resume at the French Open on Thursday, viewable on the Tennis Channel.