Djokovic, Nadal achieve career milestones on French Open

Updated: 2016-05-27 09:51


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No. 1 Novak Djokovic kept his quest for his first French Open title alive on Thursday, beating Belgian Steve Darcis 7–5, 6–3, 6–4 to advance to the third round. With the win, the Serb joined Roger Federer and Serena Williams as just the third player in the Open Era to record 50 wins at all four majors.

Djokovic, Nadal achieve career milestones on French Open

Novak Djokovic of Serbia vs Steve Darcis of Belgium in Paris, France - 26/05/16.  [Photo/Agencies]

"I'm pleased to get the job done in three sets, but there were things that I definitely didn't like in my game today. Too many unforced errors from the first or second shot in the rally," Djokovic said after the match. "But credit to Steve [Darcis] for playing a lot of variety and mixing up the pace. Very low slice. It's not easy, because he's very quick, and he anticipates the play very well....The matches will get tougher, and it's kind of expected at the beginning that you are a bit rusty on the court, and hopefully things will get better."

In his post-match press conference Djokovic also confirmed that he is a vegetarian and hasn't eaten meat for almost a year. "How do you call that? A pescatarian, vegan with eating a little bit of fish here and there," he said. The World No. 1 also talked about his success and relationship with coach Boris Becker.

"I think the top players try to find new ways of inspiring themselves and sharing the experience and learning from the all-time greats," he said. "Boris Becker is somebody that accepted our invitation to be part of our team. We are very glad that he did that, because the last couple of years I had some great time with him, and learning a lot from, I think, from psychological point of view of how to handle things on the tour, on and off the court....His contribution to the team is definitely big, and so everything works in harmony so far. How long it is going to go for, we don't know. We go year by year, and, you know, I'm glad that Boris, you know, wants to keep going. So at the end of this year, we will see if he goes for another year."

Djokovic will face Britain's Aljaz Bedene in the third round. The pair last played at the 2015 Australian Open in the first round, where Djokovic prevailed in straight sets.

The match was up and down but No. 8-seed Timea Bacsinszky was able to defeat Eugenie Bouchard 6–4, 6–4 to advance. The Swiss trailed 1-4, won 10 straight games, then lost four straight before closing out the win. Bouchard almost fought back in the second set to level it at 5-all, but unforced errors kept her from mounting a comeback.

"My game actually feels good. My shots feel good. My movement feels good. So I think it hurts a bit more knowing I can play really well right now," Bouchard said after the match. "But I know it's a long process and a long journey. When I restarted working with Nick, we talked about a long-term plan."

"I like to say tennis is 90% mental. A lot of things in life are really mental….So I'm kind of on this path to try to get it to be my amazing strength again like it was in the past. The brain is like a muscle. You got to work it out. (Smiling.) So that's what I been trying to do. Doesn't always work out on the match court, but slowly but surely hopefully it will."

Two-time Roland Garros quarterfinalist Carla Suarez Navarro also advanced, beating Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-3 in the first match of the day on Court 2. Suarez Navarro will next face Dominika Cibulkova, who beat Ana Konjuh 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.

Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva knocked out No. 28-seed and 2015 Roland Garros semifinalist Andrea Petkovic 6–2, 6–2 on Thursday. Looking ahead in the draw, the feisty Putintseva has a solid chance to advance: She'll face Karin Knapp in the third round and if she wins, will face the winner of Suarez Navarro-Cibulkova.

After losing the first two games, nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal steadied himself to a comfortable win over Facundo Bagnis 6–3, 6–0, 6–3. The victory marked his 200th Grand Slam win in his career, pushing him to eighth on the all-time list.