Novak Djokovic wasted a few opportunities but safely reached the third round of the French Open with a 7-5 6-3 6-4 victory against Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis on Thursday.
The world number one dropped serve twice when he seemed to be strolling towards a straightforward victory, his 50th at Roland Garros.
“It was a bit difficult but I’m happy I won in three sets,” said Djokovic.
Darcis, the world number 161, fought back from a break down in the first and third sets as Djokovic seemed to lose focus.
The Serb raced to a 3-0 lead on Court Suzanne Lenglen only for Darcis to break back and level for 3-3 before he wasted a break point in the ninth game. Djokovic went on to take the set as the Belgian’s backhand sailed long.
An early break put the top seed ahead in the second set, which he won comfortably. However, Djokovic, who hopes to win the only grand slam missing from his collection, let Darcis fight back from 2-0 down in the third.
But the Australian Open champion, a runner-up at Roland Garros last year, accelerated again and wrapped it up on his first match point.