Novak Djokovic: Grand Slams are where I aim to play my best


World No.1 Naomi Osaka had another major escape when she outlasted former Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka 4-6 7-5 6-3 for a place in the third round. Trailing 5-1, Osaka won the next three games but was unable to keep her momentum going as the Belarusian took advantage of her unforced errors to close the set. "That was really nice of her and I'll remember it forever", said Anisimova.

No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem, last year's beaten finalist, labored to a 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Alexander Bublik, while fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev continued his trip by overcoming Mikael Ymer 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

In the crucial second set, Azarenka was up a break and leading 4-2 when Osaka dug deep and won her service game.

Osaka was trying to become the first woman to win three consecutive major trophies since Williams grabbed four in a row in 2014-15, a run that was preceded by a second-round loss at Roland Garros and a third-round loss at Wimbledon.

The Romanian revealed she is struggling with illness, saying: "I didn't feel that great".

"It was really tough mentally to play and at the end my body was just not listening to me. being a tennis player, at some point you think no, no, no".

Osaka probably didn't have revenge on her mind, but a recent family exchange came to light ahead of the second Grand Slam of the year. "It's more like I feel like I have to win".

"She's very powerful. She's very explosive", Azarenka said.

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Naomi Osaka has needed the full six sets to win her first two matches at the French Open. It was the seventh break point Azarenka had faced in the set, and the first she had failed to save. She again did the same thing in the second round - losing the first set before winning in three - but she eventually ousted Victoria Azarenka.

Osaka, 21, rallied from 4-0 down but was unable to salvage the opening set which Azarenka ended with a service victor.

The Japanese has won the past two grand slams, but playing an opponent who twice claimed the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, she claimed Azarenka felt like a scalp.

It was a similar story for all of the top-10-seeded players in action Thursday, as they went a combined 6-0 (18-5 in sets). You know, I watched him play a little bit today when I was waiting for my match. Osaka is now the world no 1 whereas Katerina Siniakova is ranked world no 42.

Also Thursday, Williams beat Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-2 to reach a third-round date with countrywoman Sofia Kenin.

The reward for Thiem is a clash against Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas who made it through when British No. 1 Kyle Edmund retired with a knee injury at 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 2-1 down. And especially at this phase of my career, it's Grand Slams, and try to play my best tennis in these tournaments that are historically the biggest events and the most important events in our sport.

Second seed Pliskova was the last of the four players who had a shot at overhauling Osaka left in the draw when she stepped onto Court Philippe-Chatrier to face Petra Martic on Friday.