Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both needed four sets to reach the fourth round of the French Open on Friday, while Agnieszka Radwanska’s third-round defeat means the top three seeded women have all been eliminated in the first week.
The second-seeded Djokovic looked sluggish at times but beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4, improving to 9-0 in their head-to-head meetings.
Federer, meanwhile, was in total control before wasting four set points in the second set on his way to a 7-5, 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-4 win against Dmitry Tursunov.
“I’m pleased I found a way and played it solid and tough toward the very end,” Federer said. “When somebody serves big like he does, it’s sometimes a bit difficult.”
In women’s third-round play, four-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova needed only 51 minutes to blank Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 6-0, 6-0.
Earlier, third-seeded Radwanska became the latest women’s favorite to go out, losing 6-4, 6-4 to unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia. She followed No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 2 Li Na out of the tournament.
The seventh-seeded Sharapova next faces Samantha Stosur of Australia. The 19th-seeded Stosur, runner-up in 2010, beat No. 9 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-4.
Sharapova won the title at Roland Garros in 2012 – something Djokovic has never done. The Serb lost to eight-time champion Rafael Nadal in the semifinals last year.
Djokovic dropped serve early on Friday to trail 3-1, made sloppy unforced errors in the tiebreaker, and was broken back in the fourth set after leading 4-2. He sealed the victory on his first match point when the 25th-seeded Croat double-faulted.
“Physically I had to work very hard, because he was very aggressive,” Djokovic said. “First two sets and beginning of the third I had some chances to break him and get the job done in straight sets, but he started playing a little bit better.”
The six-time Grand Slam champion next plays 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who eased to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win against No. 22 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland.
Sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic downed Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4. He next faces 10th-seeded American John Isner, who beat No. 17 Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-6 (13), 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5 ), 7-5
Federer, who had won his opening two matches in straight sets, converted only four of his 21 break-point opportunities against the 31st-seeded Russian.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion even joked when asked, moments after the match, if his poor conversion rate worried him.
“I pretend there isn’t a problem,” he said, breaking into a huge grin. “I’ll go for the next one, and the next one, and the next one.”
He’s done far worse recently. In his quarterfinal win against Tsonga at this year’s Monte Carlo Masters in April, Federer wasted 15 break points.
Tursunov was trailing 0-40 in the 12th game and 7-6 down in the tiebreaker, but went on to level the match with a forehand pass down the line.
“I wish at times I could have played a bit more offensive,” said Federer, who won the French Open in 2009.
Shortly after winning the second-set tiebreaker, Tursunov appeared to have a minor meltdown while trailing 2-1 in the third. He argued with the chair umpire and took a medical timeout to treat a sore groin.
Federer next plays No. 18 Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who beat Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.