Novak Djokovic overcame a fierce challenge from Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the French Open 2023 to seal a 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-2 third-round victory, here on Friday..
The two-time champion Djokovic withstood a barrage of big hitting from the 29th seed Davidovich Fokina in two richly entertaining opening sets.
The Serbian then took control in the third set for a hard-earned three-hour, 36-minute victory.
"I knew it was going to be a very difficult match, a very physical match," Djokovic said after the game.
"We played three hours for only two sets. He contested very well. He is an amazing fighter and an amazing player. He has very few weaknesses in his game. Congratulations to him for fighting. Bad luck, but he played a great match, " he added.
Djokovic is now into the fourth round at Roland Garros for the 14th year in a row as he chases a record 23rd major trophy, as well as a return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, this fortnight in Paris.
His next opponent in the French capital will be 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz or Juan Pablo Varillas.
"A win is a win. The first two sets, three hours, I thought if I lose the second set, I will probably be playing five hours today," Djokovic said further.
"You have to be ready. That is what Grand Slams are all about, playing best of five. You have to believe in yourself and make the most out of it. I am proud of the performance today, " he added.