IT was a fairly convincing day of action on Day 5 of the Roland Garros, with all men’s matches completed by the end of the fourth set although a smattering of lower seeds succumbed to hungry opponents in the Round of 64. Meanwhile, a teen talent made it through the second round with hopes to continue his great form on clay.
It was no worries for the three top 10 seeds of the day, with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all making it through to the second round relatively unscathed, with only Federer dropping a set on his way to the Round of 32. Djokovic hit 31 winners against Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in their first encounter to reign supreme, while Nadal claimed a 35th birthday win in his 6-0 7-5 6-2 disposal of Richard Gasquet – a whopping 17th time beating the Frenchman.
“Of course it’s better to win 16 in a row than lose 16 in a row,” Nadal said. “When you go to the match and you have been winning all the last 16 times, of course the confidence is a little bit higher than when you have a tougher head-to-head.
“Being honest, I respect (and) I know how good is Richard. “I know he’s coming back after a tough period of time. “I think he played smart, playing aggressive. “I don’t know. “I just went on court with highest respect, with the highest focus possible, and that’s what I try to do every day against everyone.”
“I’m playing well, feeling great. I’m ready to go deep in this tournament,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully that’s going to be the case. “But I’ll take it match by match, and so far the two matches that I have played have been played in a high quality.
“I’m pleased with the performance today, particularly against a very good player, a specialist on clay, someone I have never faced before. [He] has got a lot of spin,” Djokovic said. “[He hits] just a very difficult ball to handle in these kind of conditions when it’s a bit warmer… These balls during the day are bouncing really high.”
“I still do believe there’s no way I’m going to go really, really super deep here or go past the Novak section,” Federer said.
“The first round I didn’t surprise myself per se, but now in the second round, I did,” Federer said. “Now can I keep it up and how will the body react? We’ll see. The mind is getting stronger, I can feel it. I have more clarity, I have more confidence growing in me.”
“I feel like I surprised myself a little bit,” Federer told Tennis Channel. “I didn’t expect myself to play that well or to have the energy left at the end like this and being able to keep on serving so consistently at the end was great.”
Meanwhile, ninth, 10th and 18th seeds Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman and teen Jannik Sinner all proceeded, while the likes of Gael Monfils (14th seed), Alex de Minaur (21st), Aslan Karatsev (24th) and Taylor Fritz (30th) all failed to proceed with all four only able to steal one set in their respective losses.
One of the biggest wins of the day, however, went to teenager Carlos Alcaraz, who downed the day’s remaining seed in Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets, 6-4 6-2 6-4, in just under two hours.
“Obviously it’s good, the numbers, but I still focus on me,” Alcaraz said. “That means that I’m going the right way. I am doing the right things, and I keep [doing] this. I’m still growing up as a player and as a person, and that’s the important thing.”
“Today the positive emotions were really, really important because Nikoloz is a really, really good tennis player,” Alcaraz said. “He has a lot of great skills. He hits the ball really, really hard, and if you don’t focus, if you are not focused, it’s hard to play against him. You have to be focused all the time.”
The 18-year-old is the youngest male competitor to advance to the third round at the Roland Garros since Nadal in 2004, aged only 17. He finished off the encounter with 27 winners to Basilashvili’s 16, including 10 aces, also hitting less unforced errors (26-33).
“If I went down in that game, it was [going to be] really, really hard,” Alcaraz said. “I was focused, and that’s a good skill for me.”
Five more competitors joined the winners list on Day 5, with Ricardis Berankis and Cameron Norrie taken to four, while Soonwoo Kwon, Lorenzo Musetti and Jan-Lennard Struff all heading into the third round with straight sets wins in the books.
ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-3 6-2 6-4
 Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-0 7-5 6-2
 Roger Federer (SUI) defeated Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-2 2-6 7-6 6-2
 Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-3 6-3 6-2
 Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Ajlaz Bedene (SLO) 6-4 6-2 6-4
Mikael Ymer (SWE) defeated  Gael Monfils (FRA) 6-0 2-6 6-4 6-3
 Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-1 7-5 3-6 6-3
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated  Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-4 6-1 3-6 6-1
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) defeated  Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-3 7-6 4-6 6-1
[Q] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated  Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-4 6-2 6-4
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated  Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-4
Ricardis Berankis (POR) defeated James Duckworth (AUS) 7-5 2-6 7-6 6-0
Sonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-4 7-5 7-5
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 7-5 6-3 6-2
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-2
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 7-5 7-6 6-4
Picture credit: Corinne Dubreuil/FFT