Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic both advanced to the third round of the French Open, keeping their chances of facing one other in the semifinals in Paris alive.
Serbia’s Djokovic defeated Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 6-3 to advance toward a men’s record 23rd major singles victory.
After receiving criticism for painting a political message about Kosovo on a camera lens at Roland Garros, Djokovic went on to win.
The world’s top-ranked Alcaraz earlier defeated Taro Daniel of Japan 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-2.
During the opening set, Djokovic struck a frustrated figure as he had to fend off three break points in each service game before being forced into a tie-break after blowing a 5-3 lead.
A dominant second set was replicated for much of the third but a once-again irritated Djokovic was broken when serving for the match at 5-2.
However, he capitalised on a shaky service game from Hungary’s Fucsovics to win the match and set up a meeting with Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
The 36-year-old, a two-time champion in Paris, wrote “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence” on a camera after his first-round win on Monday.
It was a reference to recent tension in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia has never recognised Kosovo’s independence.
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France’s sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said earlier on Wednesday that Djokovic’s message was “not appropriate” and “should not happen again”.
Alcaraz, top seed at a major for the first time in his career, is one of the favourites for the title having won last year’s US Open.
The 20-year-old cruised to the first set but was broken early in the second by Daniel, who has claimed impressive wins over Grand Slam runners-up Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini this year.
However, Alcaraz responded strongly, breaking a further five times across the final two sets to complete a routine win.
“I’m winning all the time because I am smiling,” Alcaraz said. “And I always said that smiling, for me, is the key of everything.
He will face Canada’s Denis Shapovalov next, while fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Diego Schwartzman.
Greek Tsitsipas, runner-up at Roland Garros in 2021, beat Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.