Casper Ruud described his French Open win over Hubert Hurkacz as the "perfect" way to tee up his first grand slam quarter-final appearance, as the eighth seed looks to extend the best major run of his career. 

Ruud downed Hurkacz 6-2 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 2 hours and 31 minutes on Monday to make the last-eight of the singles draw at a grand slam for the first time in his career, bettering his run to the fourth round at the Australian Open last year.

The Norwegian will face talented teenager Holger Rune for a spot in the semi-finals after the 19-year-old became the first Danish man to reach a grand slam quarter-final in the Open era by eliminating Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Ruud said the win featured some of his best tennis this year.

"I feel good, of course. It's a good result. To make my first quarter-final here in Roland Garros means a lot. It's the first grand slam that I visited as a kid," he said.

"It's nice to get one of my best results of my career so far here. I hope I can continue the level of my tennis and [keep] the streak going.

"Today I think I played some of my best tennis this year for the first two sets. [In the] fourth set as well, I played well when I had to come back.

"I think that's a perfect way to go into a quarter-final for me. Hopefully I can reach a step or two or three more."

After recording his career-best major performance, Ruud – who lost his first ATP 1000 final to Carlos Alcaraz at the Miami Open in April – was keen to go further, saying he will only allow himself to look back upon the milestone at the end of his campaign.

"Well, I mean, of course, it's a new milestone. [But] when I'm playing the tournament, playing the match, I don't really think too much about it," he added.

"Of course, when I'm done with this or when this tournament is over for me, I will look back and think that I did a good job and did a good result and made my best result in a grand slam.

"It is going to change, of course, the way I think I look at the grand slams in the future, when you know you have reached a quarter-final one time. It has been a big goal for me this year, and to reach it is a good feeling.

"But of course, when you reach a goal, you make new goals. That's usually how it goes. My new goal will be in a few days' time to try to reach the semi-final."

With many of the game's biggest names, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz all landing on the opposite side of the draw to Ruud, the 23-year-old may not get too many better chances to enjoy a deep grand slam run.

And the Norwegian suggested pundits may have placed too much focus on a few big names in the build-up to Roland Garros, adding: "Before the tournament, there was, of course, already a lot of talk who the favourite was.

"I think everyone was talking about the top half of the draw with Nadal, Djokovic and Alcaraz of course there, [but] there are many other good players in the tournament." 

Stefanos Tsitsipas branded his performance against Holger Rune "ridiculous", admitting he allowed his frustrations to get the better of him on court during his shock last-16 exit at the French Open.

Having finished as runner-up at Roland Garros last year, the fourth seed crashed out in the fourth round this time around, going down 7-5 3-6 6-3 6-4 to the Danish teenager, who had only managed one previous win over a top-five opponent. 

The three-hour contest began with Tsitsipas earning an early break, but the Greek went on to struggle against the 19-year-old, who became the first Danish player to reach a grand slam quarter-final during the open era.

Speaking during his post-match press conference, a visibly emotional Tsitsipas admitted he struggled to apply enough pressure on Rune, highlighting his own lack of rhythm on court.

"Great match from his side, but I have to say it was a very bad management from my side," he said.

"I was struggling a lot the last couple of days in terms of finding my rhythm. I was very nervous on the court, being frustrated a lot, and I knew I was this way, but I couldn't stop being like this.

"I was a completely different player once I stepped into the court, taking returns [too] early.

"I think we could see that in the last two service games of his, I was really able to apply a lot of pressure; it was day and night, pretty much, that transformation.

"I just, you know, didn't have my mind completely there when I had to make those changes. It came way too late on in that match, way too late.

"I wasn't really applying a lot of pressure, it was ridiculous at a point, and again I was stubborn, I was stubborn to change it. I need to adjust way quicker, it's too late for this stuff."

Tsitsipas, who squandered a two-set lead in his 2021 final defeat to Novak Djokovic in the French capital, had been tipped by many to repeat his run to the final after landing on the opposite side of the draw to pre-tournament favourites Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz.

But the Greek refuted suggestions the pressure that comes with a supposedly kinder draw had hindered his performances, telling reporters: "Absolutely not. I don't watch draws, I don't watch my next opponents. 

"I pretty much know the progress and the way I need to do things in order to get to where I was last year, and that doesn't come easy, for sure.

"Of course, I knew I'm going to have to play difficult opponents that know how to play on this surface, but mentally, physically, tennis-wise, I felt good.

"It's just that I had a few troubles in practice. Again, back to frustration, back to not understanding certain things and certain patterns that I was trying to impose.

"He [Rune] is a very emotional player, he can play great, he absolutely deserves this victory, [he] played better, faced tough moments better. But I can see something different next time with this opponent. I'm pretty convinced I can do way better.

"This is not where I've maxed out, let's say. I didn't give myself the opportunity to max out. I didn't give myself the opportunity to go all the way and that is a shame."

Stefanos Tsitsipas is out of the French Open after being beaten by Danish teenager Holger Rune in the fourth round on Monday.

Tsitsipas earned an early break, but things soon started to unravel as he lost the first set.

The Greek number four seed came back to even things up in the second, but had no answer for Rune's power and precision as his opponent won in four sets, 7-5 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Rune - earning just his second ever win over a top five opponent - is the first Danish men's player to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam in the Open Era.

The contest lasted just over three hours on Court Philippe-Chatrier, and Rune thanked the crowd for the part they played.

"I have an unbelievable feeling right now," the 19-year-old said in his on-court interview. "I was so nervous at the end but the crowd was amazing for me the whole match, the whole tournament.

"I am so grateful and so happy to be playing on this court. You guys are amazing.

"I was very nervous but I know at the same time that if I go away from my tactics against a player like Tsitsipas I am going to lose for sure.

"I told myself just to keep at it and play my plan in the tough moments. It worked out so well in the end and gave me a huge confidence boost. It is just so great to still be here."

Rune will play Norwegian Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals after the number eight seed beat 12th seed Hubert Hurkacz earlier on Monday.

Sixteen years after they first met in a grand slam Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will do battle in another mouthwatering French Open quarter-final on Tuesday.

Two of the all-time greats have locked horns 58 times in their illustrious careers, but only two of those meetings have been in the last eight of a major.

The first of those was in their first meeting, which happened to be at the same stage at Roland Garros back in 2006.

Nadal progressed to the semi-finals on that occasion as Djokovic retired at 6-4 6-4 down and the legendary Spaniard went on to defend his title and double his tally of major triumphs.

He has gone on to lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires a record 13 times and no man can boast more than his tally of 21 grand slam titles.

Yet Nadal comes into the latest instalment of their rivalry under the lights on Court Philippe-Chatrier in the unfamiliar position of not being a strong favourite to prevail.

While world number one and defending champion Djokovic has not dropped a set in his four matches in Paris, Nadal needed five sets to get the better of Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday.

Nadal had to draw on all of his fight, skill and experience to see off the Canadian in an enthralling contest that had spectators on the edge of their seats for four hours and 21 minutes.

Djokovic beat Nadal in four sets the last time they faced each other in this tournament last year and the Serb went on to be crowned French Open champion for the second time.

The top seed from Belgrade would move level with Nadal's haul of major crowns if he triumphs at Roland Garros once again on Sunday.

Djokovic holds a superior record of 30-28 in his head-to-head with Nadal, but the latter has won seven of their nine matches at Roland Garros.

Nadal started his favourite tournament with only five matches on clay under his belt this season after recovering from a foot injury, but he is relishing the challenge of facing one of his biggest rivals.

He said: "I didn't play this kind of matches for the last three months, so it's going to be a big challenge for me. Of course he already won I think nine matches in a row, winning in Rome and now winning here in straight sets every match.

"Probably he will be confident. I know what my situation is, and I accept it well. I am gonna fight for it, that's it."

Djokovic hopes being the fresher of the two will be crucial.

"Nadal is obviously a well-anticipated match I think when the draw came out for a lot of people. I'm glad that I didn't spend too much time on the court up to quarter-finals, knowing that playing him in Roland Garros is always a physical battle, along with everything else," he said.

"It's a huge challenge and probably the biggest one that you can have here in Roland Garros."

While Djokovic did not spend much time on court in the first week in Paris, he could be in for a late night when the two tussle in what could be yet another epic.

Rafael Nadal set up the blockbuster quarter-final against Novak Djokovic that the French Open has been waiting for, but he was pushed all the way by Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The 13-time champion emerged as a winner by a 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 scoreline in four hours and 21 minutes of dramatic duelling on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Those inside the stadium court roared with the fervour of football supporters as Nadal crossed the winning line, a day after watching his beloved Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the Champions League final at the Stade de France.

If defending champion Djokovic watched this, he would have observed chinks in the Nadal armour, but the great Spaniard's commitment to his craft remains resolute. He hates losing, could not abide the thought of tumbling out in the fourth round, and duly pulled out every stop to avoid that happening.

Looking ahead to the tussle with Djokovic, Nadal said afterwards: "I don't know what will happen, but the only thing I can guarantee is I am going to fight until the end."

Nadal dropped serve in the fourth game of the match and again in the sixth to trail 5-1, and he began the recovery from there, snatching a break back.

Although he had been unable to retrieve the opening set, Nadal was suddenly dialled in. At 35, coming up for 36 in the coming week, he is 14 years Auger-Aliassime's senior and has a dodgy foot, but Nadal's movement was somehow still that of a young man.

From 3-3 in the second set, Nadal won six of the next seven games to take command, soon snatching a second break in set three as he accelerated away from a player who until this year had never won a match at Roland Garros.

Making it to the fourth round signifies progress on Auger-Aliassime's part but facing the master of these courts was always a tall order. It was to the ninth seed's enormous credit that he gave the match a fresh twist by breaking twice early in the fourth set and forcing the decider.

At 4-3 in the fifth, on serve, Nadal had a break-point opportunity and his tiring legs carried him to stunning heights when he moved Auger-Aliassime into trouble at the net with a delicious, dipping backhand, and then dashed towards the net to dink a winner out of his opponent's reach.

This time Auger-Aliassime did not come back. On match point in the next game, Nadal sent a forehand into an open court after manoeuvring Auger-Aliassime out of position once more, and it brought the house down. He now has 109 wins from 112 singles matches at this tournament.

Data slam: Nadal goes the distance, finds a way

Only three times has Nadal played a fifth set at the French Open, and he has won them all, defeating John Isner in the 2011 first round and Djokovic in the 2013 semi-finals, and now Auger-Aliassime.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 47/41
Auger-Aliassime – 50/54

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 3/4
Auger-Aliassime – 7/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/22
Auger-Aliassime – 4/9

Novak Djokovic says previous failures at the French Open add "more significance" to his quest for Roland Garros glory.

Djokovic has not dropped a set in each of his last nine matches, dating back to his Internazionali d'Italia win, after cruising to a 6-1 6-3 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman on Sunday.

The world number one has reached a record 16 quarter-finals at the Paris major, while only Roger Federer (58) has reached the last eight at grand slams more times than Djokovic (51).

But Djokovic has not always enjoyed success in the French capital, losing three finals against Rafael Nadal (twice in 2012 and 2014) and Stan Wawrinka in 2015 before defeating Andy Murray the next year.

The Serbian added a second French Open crown to his trophy haul in 2021 by edging out Stefanos Tsitsipas.

As Djokovic looks to defend his title, the 35-year-old explained he has an added incentive given his previous struggles in the tournament.

"It took me years and years to win the title here," he told reporters. "Of course I had some big heartbreaks on the court here, many finals lost and semi-finals, thrilling marathon matches, mostly against Rafa prior to 2016.

"It was very special, very emotional to clinch that title in 2016. It was a huge relief more than anything.

"So in the years to come, I was still continuing to play consistently well here then luckily got another title last year, somehow winning a title here is always probably the hardest of any slam for me.

"Last year the second week that I had here was just probably the toughest four matches, toughest seven days I had to win any slam in my career. So it gives it a little bit more of a significance, so to say."

Djokovic also suggested he is having to make adjustments based on the scheduling times, with top seeds either playing in the early afternoon or in the evening session, which can go later into the night.

"As top players, we do have requests, but those requests are not always accepted," he added. "The tournament director, along with TV, broadcasters, I think at the end of the day that's who decides.

"TV, whether they want your match, day or night, you just have to adjust to that. Obviously, depending on who you play, sometimes it's favourable to play night, sometimes day.

"There is no standard or no formula that works always. Even though I historically played very well and won a lot of matches under the lights on different slams, particularly in Australia."

Novak Djokovic is on course to face Rafael Nadal in the French Open quarter-final after defeating Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3 6-3.

Djokovic had not dropped a set in his last eight matches, dating back to his Internazionali d'Italia win, and had little trouble extending that run in the fourth round on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

World number 16 Schwartzman offered brief resistance to hold in a lengthy opening service game, but the Serbian managed to break his opponent on his next serve before going on to claim the first set with ease.

Defending Roland Garros champion Djokovic capitalised on an error-strewn Schwartzman performance in the first set, but it was the 35-year-old who faltered in the second as he went 3-0 down.

Djokovic made numerous mistakes at the net with his wayward backhand costing him, but he responded in emphatic fashion, rallying to win the next six games, and Schwartzman failed to recover.

World number one Djokovic broke to make it 4-2 in the final set, with Schwartzman left lamenting a break point squandered in the previous game.

Djokovic eased over the line to book his place in the last eight, where Nadal will be his opponent if the Spaniard defeats Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Data Slam: Djokovic reaches 16th quarter-final

Djokovic eased into a record-extending 16th French Open quarter-final, while Nadal could match that feat later on Sunday. In the overall grand slam quarter-final count, Roger Federer leads with 58, with Djokovic on 51 and Nadal on 45.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Djokovic – 28/31
Schwartzman – 23/45

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Djokovic – 3/1
Schwartzman – 1/5

BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 6/11
Schwartzman – 1/8

Stefanos Tsitsipas said the consistency of his rivals has pushed him to become a better athlete after he eased into the French Open's last-16 with a 6-2 6-2 6-1 win over Mikael Ymer.

Having fought back from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round before downing Zdenek Kolar in an absorbing four-set contest featuring three tie-breaks, the Greek enjoyed a more routine outing against the 23-year-old Swede.

Fourth seed Tsitsipas, who finished as runner-up at Roland Garros in 2021 after squandering a two-set final lead against Novak Djokovic, has been tipped for a serious tilt at a first Grand Slam title after landing on the opposite side of the draw to many of the pre-tournament favourites.

The world number four cannot meet any of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, or Carlos Alcaraz until the final, seemingly giving him a shot of atoning for his final disappointment last year.

After storming to a dominant win over Ymer, the 23-year-old said the excellence of tennis' fellow leading lights has motivated him to change his lifestyle to further his chances of success.  

"Well, I will tell you that I respect a lot the top three for having been so incredibly consistent the last couple of years," he told a post-match press conference.

"I have questioned myself, how do I become a better athlete? These guys have pushed me to become a better athlete. 

"I question myself, really, what can I add to my life that can eventually help me achieve more and do more, and do better in terms of my career. So, every day is a question: What can I add?

"Looking back on the diet that I had, let's say, three or four years ago, it's nothing compared to what I have now. In terms of fitness, this is something that I have questioned a lot, as well.

"And, of course, the balance between life and career. It hasn't been easy, but I kind of feel in better control of my life right now, being focused and having control around me without relying too much on other people's feelings."

Tsitsipas was only on court for an hour and 32 minutes in his third round win, and was pleased with making quicker progress than had been the case in his previous outings at the tournament.

"I had to do my job. I had to play my tennis. I wasn't really thinking of the ease that I could maybe create in terms of a result," he added.

"But with my good efforts, the way I committed myself to every single point individually, the end was good. I was able to create a good result today with some good tennis

"It's a good thing to have a match like this every now and then, I think. It was a good performance in ways."

Rafael Nadal intends to attend the Champions League final between his beloved Real Madrid and Liverpool, despite the ongoing French Open.

Paris' Stade de France plays host to the Champions League showpiece on Saturday, with Madrid aiming for a 14th European Cup as Liverpool look to add to their EFL Cup and FA Cup successes this season.

Meanwhile, across the city in the French capital, Nadal remains in contention at Roland Garros after defeating Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3 6-2 6-4 on Friday.

Madrid great Zinedine Zidane was in attendance as the Spaniard cruised to victory, with the 35-year-old setting up a last-16 clash with Felix Auger-Aliassime.

While Nadal did not get to converse with Zidane, he was aware of the Frenchman's presence as the record 21-time grand slam winner outlined his plans to make the short trip to support Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid.

"I didn't see him, but I knew it was him, I knew he was there because I was listening to the crowd shouting his name all the time," Nadal told reporters when asked about Zidane. 

"So I imagine he was there, but I didn't have the chance to see him after my match or talk with him at all.

"Tomorrow, let's see how I wake up, because, you never know with my body how the surprises are there.

"But if nothing happens, and I expect nothing happens, and if I'm able to have the right practice tomorrow, my intention and my goal is to be there [at the Stade de France]."

Novak Djokovic hopes to have his visa reinstated so he can return to feature at the Australian Open following a change of government Down Under.

Djokovic eased to a 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory over Aljaz Bedene at the French Open on Friday to set up a last-16 clash with Diego Schwartzman.

The world number one remains on course to meet record 21-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, in what is the Serbian's first major of the year.

Djokovic was banned from playing at the Australian Open in Melbourne and was deported from the country due to his unvaccinated COVID-19 status in January.

The 34-year-old cannot be granted another visa for three years due to Australia's immigration laws, but former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously suggested he could be allowed entry sooner under the "right circumstances".

Djokovic hopes the arrival of new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will boost his visa-related hopes of featuring in Melbourne at the start of 2023.

"In terms of the government, yes, I heard the news, but, I mean, I don't know anything about whether my visa is going to be reinstated or whether I'm going to be allowed to come back to Australia," he told reporters.

"I would like to. I would like to go there and play Australian Open. I don't hold any grudges. Look, you know, it was what it was.

"If I have an opportunity to go back to Australia and play a place where I made the biggest success in my career in Grand Slams, I would love to come back."

As for the next clash with Schwartzman as Djokovic aims to equal Nadal's 21 grand slams, the Serbian is expecting a tough test in Paris.

"Well, he's one of the quickest players we have on tour, and his best results in his career came on clay, so of course he's a tough opponent without a doubt," he added. 

"I know him well. We played some really good matches on different surfaces. So playing against him, you always have to expect another ball coming back. I'm ready for the physical battle.

"I haven't spent too much time on the court. I have been striking the ball really well, so I look forward to that challenge."

Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 at the French Open as he cruised to a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday.

Nadal breezed past Jordan Thompson and Corentin Moutet to reach the third round, where the Spaniard had few difficulties on Court Suzanne-Lenglen against world number 29 Van de Zandschulp.

The pair exchanged breaks to begin the match, but the 13-time winner at Roland Garros soon took control as he only lost four points on his service in the first set, all of which came in the first game.

Van de Zandschulp continued to struggle in the second set as Nadal triumphed in a lengthy third game to break again, before following suit in the Dutchman's next service to further his advantage en route to taking a two-set lead.

World number five Nadal again opened the third set by battling to break Van de Zandschulp twice and had the opportunity to go 5-0 up with points in hand.

The Dutchman fought back to win three straight games before claiming another, leaving the set finely poised at 5-4 to Nadal.

However, the 35-year-old Nadal regained his composure to wrap up victory and will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who defeated Filip Krajinovic.

Data Slam: Nadal on course for Djokovic meeting

Only Novak Djokovic (325) and Roger Federer (369) have more grand slam match wins than Nadal (301), who remains on course to meet the world number one in the quarter-final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 25/13
Van de Zandschulp – 19/31

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 2/1
Van de Zandschulp – 3/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/12
Van de Zandschulp – 2/3

Novak Djokovic cruised to a straight-sets win over Aljaz Bedene in the third round of the French Open, beating the Slovenian 6-3 6-3 6-2 to set up a last-16 clash with Diego Schwartzman.

Serbian star Djokovic, who is bidding to become the first player other than Rafael Nadal to win consecutive men's singles titles at Roland Garros since Gustavo Kuerten triumphed in 2000 and 2001, produced a ruthless display to blow away world number 195 Bedene in just one hour and 44 minutes.

Djokovic started as he meant to go on, launching an onslaught which forced Bedene to save five break points throughout his first two service games, before the Slovenian finally succumbed to a break in his third.

The top seed was virtually perfect on his own serve, winning 94 per cent of points on first serve in the opening set before picking up another decisive break just three games into the second.

Despite appearing to struggle with the glare at times on a sun-bathed Court Philippe-Chatrier, Djokovic continued his professional display to move closer to victory, recording just three unforced errors to his opponent's 13 in the second set.

To the delight of some in the crowd, Bedene forced his first and only break point of the encounter in the opening game of the third set, only for Djokovic to power a fierce volley past the 32-year-old before recovering to hold serve.

The world number one did not look back from there, breaking to love in the fourth game before wrapping up a routine win after forcing two match points on Bedene's serve to set up a seventh career meeting with Schwartzman, against whom he boasts a 100 per cent record.

Data Slam: Dominant Djokovic wraps up another straight-sets win

The world number one looks to be hitting form at the perfect time after a troubled start to the year: Djokovic has won 19 straight sets of tennis since the start of the Internazionale d'Italia earlier this month, recording a series of perfect displays since his Madrid Open final loss to Carlos Alcaraz.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic 30/18
Bedene 23/37

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic 9/1
Bedene 4/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic 5/11
Bedene 0/1

Stefanos Tsitsipas called Zdenek Kolar a "complete player", despite ultimately defeating his Czech opponent in the second round of the French Open.

Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each before the number four seed finally secured victory with another tie-break in the fourth set, sealing it 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7).

Kolar is ranked 134th in the world but looked every bit a threat to Tsitsipas on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent).

Speaking at a news conference after his win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

"It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

"He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

"I guess both today," he said. "I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not overexaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

"Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer after the Swede beat 29th seed Dan Evans on Thursday.

Daniil Medvedev is outgrowing his phobia of spiders while learning how to handle his tennis fears as he targets a long run at the French Open.

The popular Russian made pain-free progress past Serbian Laslo Djere on Thursday, winning 6-3 6-4 6-3 to set up a third-round clash with Miomir Kecmanovic.

He spoke afterwards about the difficulties of staying informed about off-court matters, particularly whether there could be twists to come surrounding Wimbledon's ban of Russian and Belarusian players this year.

Medvedev is keen to keep his focus on what happens on court, and while tennis may stoke up emotions, such as when the world number two was cut up by his defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, he is determined to develop mechanisms to deal with trauma.

"I think fear is one of the toughest emotions in people's lives, because a lot of mistakes we do in life are because we are scared of something," Medvedev said.

"That's how I think. And yeah, I'm a little bit scared of spiders, but I need to say I was much more scared when I was 10 or 12.

"When you grow up you need to sometimes face your fears. I never saw a tarantula, so I think I'm going to be scared if I see one. I'm not scared any more of small spiders.

"Fear is actually what we can feel every day in tennis. You're scared to lose. Sometimes you are scared what people are going to think about you.

"For example, I was number one in the world for two weeks, if I'm not mistaken. I'm not scared if people are going to say, 'Well, yeah, it doesn't matter, you were only two weeks'.

"But you can be scared of this. I think in every sport, especially the higher you get, the more you can have this situation.

"I try to work hard on not being scared of anything and just learning, even if I do mistakes, not being scared to repeat them but try not to repeat them.

"To be honest, I'm not scared of much right now in my life."

World number one Novak Djokovic highlighted the joy of having fans back in full attendance after he collected his second consecutive straight sets win to advance to the third round of the French Open, beating Alex Molcan 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

In his first-round fixture against Yoshihito Nishioka, Djokovic won 55 per cent of the total points in the first set, and increased that number in the second and third.

This time, however, it was Molcan who was slowly improving as the match wore on, as Djokovic won 70 per cent of the first-set points, 57 per cent in the second and 53 per cent as he was taken to a tie-breaker in the third.

Speaking to the media after his win, the Serbian star said he feels in good touch, and gave credit to his "tricky opponent".

"I'm pleased with the way I'm feeling on the court [and] the way I’ve been striking the ball," he said.

"I think today was also under challenging conditions and playing against a specialist on clay, someone that is a tricky opponent and coming off from the [Lyon] final last week. 

"It was never going to be an easy match, but I thought I performed very well."

He went on to discuss how energising it is to have a full crowd after there was a limited capacity for his 2021 triumph.

"It's great to see the crowd back [and] the full capacity on all courts," he said. "Lots of young people, lots of kids, this is something that I really love to see.

"It always gives you energy. For me at this stage of my career, a crowd and this energy of people coming to watch me play is one of the biggest reasons why I keep on competing [and] playing professional tennis."

Djokovic will play Slovakian Aljaz Bedene in the third round, and despite being aware of his collision course with Rafael Nadal set for the quarter-finals, he said looking ahead that far serves little purpose.

"You are aware what's going on with the other guys, at least in my case, and I know that everyone else is watching everybody else," he said.

"[But] that cannot be dominating most of your time and energy that you invest in a day. 

"So you are aware, but then of course it's really not up to you what they do. It's what you have to do, win matches and make good results."

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