French Open 2017: Novak Djokovic staves off huge upset with five-set win over Diego Schwartzman
Novak Djokovic prevented a stunning upset as he eventually overcame Diego Schwartzman in five gruelling sets in their the French Open third-round clash.
Djokovic twice found himself a set down as the unseeded Argentine gave him an almighty scare on Philippe Chatrier, but the 2016 champion eventually found a way to come through the troublesome encounter, 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-1.
The second seed never looked at his best as he secured his place in the fourth round and even unleashed a memorable rant at the umpire after being handed a code violation warning.
But the Serb finally found some form to end the match with successive 6-1 sets with Schwartzman having proved a very tricky opponent for the defending champion.
A series of commanding breaks put him in control as he belatedly clinched his spot in the last 16, where he will face either France's Lucas Pouille or Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Djokovic admitted that Schwartzman was the better player for the first three sets, in which he committed an astonishing 42 unforced errors alone, but was happy he came through the challenge.
"Before the match I felt well, I was optimistic and I had played two good matches (in the tournament)," Djokovic said.
"I expected a difficult game with a lot of baseline exchanges so congratulations for a big battle to Diego because he played really well."
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Djokovic is now joint third on the all-time list for most wins at Roland Garros with 58 but he will need to show much more composure and quality to come through tougher tests to come.