Zverev, Tsitsipas into last 16 at sweltering Roland Garros

Paris (AFP) –


Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas turned up the heat at Roland Garros on Saturday, booking their places in the last 16, as headline acts Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams waited to join them.

German fifth seed Zverev needed another five-setter to reach the fourth round, defeating Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 1-6, 6-2.

Zverev, whose best run at a Slam came in Paris last year when he made the quarter-finals, will face Italy's Fabio Fognini for a place in the last-eight.

Zverev, 22, had also needed five sets to defeat Australia's John Millman in the first round.

On Saturday, he hit 18 aces and 52 winners past 30th seed Lajovic, the runner-up to Fognini on Monte Carlo clay in April.

Fognini needed four sets to defeat Spanish 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

The 32-year-old Fognini trails Zverev 2-1 in head-to-head meetings but crucially won their most recent meeting in Monte Carlo.

Crowd favourite Tsitsipas became the first Greek player in 83 years to reach the second week at Roland Garros as he survived a scare against Filip Krajinovic.

The sixth seed led by two sets when the match was suspended at 5-5 in the third due to darkness just before 10:00pm on Friday.

- Greek breakthrough for Tsitsipas -

On the resumption Saturday, Tsitsipas lost the set in a tie-break but sealed a 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (8/6) success on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 20-year-old will take on either former champion Stan Wawrinka or Grigor Dimitrov for a place in his second Grand Slam quarter-final, after their match was also suspended on Friday evening.

"It's really tricky when you come back after a day. It's unusual, you don't do it that often," said Tsitsipas, who stunned Roger Federer en route to the Australian Open semi-finals earlier this year.

"It was important I saved those set points. Closing in the fourth set, it's important to save energy."

The last Greek player to reach the second week at Roland Garros was Lazaros Stalios in 1936.

As temperatures nudged close to the 30-degree mark, defending champion Simona Halep decided not to hang around.

The Romanian third seed stormed to a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of Ukrainian 27th seed Lesia Tsurenko.

"I'm feeling good, and I have expectations for myself to play good tennis," said Halep who next faces either Olympic champion Monica Puig or Polish teenager Iga Swiatek.

Later Saturday, Djokovic continues his bid to become only the second man in history to hold all four Slams at the same time twice.

Top seed Djokovic, the 2016 champion, has been untroubled in Paris so far, easing through in straight sets against Hubert Hurkacz and Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen.

In his bid to make the last 16 for the 13th time, the 15-time major winner faces Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, ranked at 147.

Women's top seed Osaka seeks a place in the last 16 for the first time when she faces Czech world number 42 Katerina Siniakova, the world's top ranked doubles player.

Top seed Osaka was two points away from defeat in the first round against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and came back from a set and break down to see off Victoria Azarenka in round two.

Williams, the three-time champion, is bidding to reach the second week for the 13th time as she continues her pursuit of equalling Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

The 37-year-old faces fellow American Sofia Kenin who wasn't born when Williams made her debut in Paris in 1998.

Playing in the third round at Roland Garros for the first time, the world number 35, won't be overawed.

"She's a machine," said her doubles partner Andrea Petkovic.