Cameron Norrie’s French Open campaign ended in disappointing fashion with a
straight-sets loss to Lorenzo Musetti in the third round.
It is the third year in a row the British No 1 has fallen in the last 32, and he only managed to mount any real challenge in the third set before going down 6-1 6-2 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes on Court Simonne Mathieu.
There is certainly no disgrace in losing to 21-year-old Musetti, who is ranked only five places below Norrie and whose best surface is clay, but the 14th seed will be disappointed by the manner of what is one of his worst Grand Slam losses in terms of scoreline.
The result, meanwhile, brings an end to British singles hopes at a tournament where only three players even made the start line.
Norrie lost to Musetti in Barcelona recently but spoke positively after his second-round victory over Lucas Pouille about what he had learned from that clash.
He was immediately on the back foot, though, dropping serve in the opening game against the stylish Italian and swiftly losing the opening set.
The second was no better, with Musetti too often finding an answer to everything Norrie could throw at him, and the 17th seed went a break up early in the third as well.
Norrie was staring at his worst major loss but he at least made a fist of it, breaking Musetti, who had lost from two sets up on both of his previous appearances at Roland Garros, back and creating three chances to break for 5-3.
The Italian held firm, though, and drilled a forehand past Norrie to break again before serving out the victory.
Musetti vs Norrie: Tale of the Tape
|1st serve win percentage
|2nd serve win percentage
|Break points won
|Net points won
Novak Djokovic fought off a terrific challenge from Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to reach the fourth round for a 14th consecutive year.
The 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory took three hours and 36 minutes, with Djokovic twice a break down in the first set and forced to save a set point in the second.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion looked unsettled in windy conditions, while he called the trainer before the third set to have his left thigh massaged, but, as he so often does, he found a way to come out on top.
“I knew that it’s going to be a very difficult match, a very physical match,” said Djokovic.
“He contested very, very well. He’s an amazing fighter, amazing player. Congratulations to him for fighting. Bad luck but he played a great match.
“Of course a win is a win, maybe a little bit too much, three hours for two sets. I thought, if I would lose the second set, we’d probably play for five hours.
“But you have to be ready. It takes a lot of effort but we all have to believe in ourselves. I’m proud of the performance today for sure.”
Pantheon of the tennis court
With victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Novak Djokovic surpasses Rafael Nadal into second among male players for win percentage at Grand Slams in the Open Era, at 87.98 per cent. Djokovic now only trails Bjorn Borg.
Djokovic in Grand Slams…
17 consecutive wins
24 consecutive sets won (30-1 in 2023)
295-5 when he has won the 1st set (96 consecutive wins)
51-0 in the third round
It was another day of long matches, with Italian Lorenzo Sonego fighting back from two sets down to defeat seventh seed Andrey Rublev, while Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner saw off Fabio Fognini in five sets.
After his epic victory over Stan Wawrinka, Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis was involved in another lengthy battle with 11th seed Karen Khachanov but was unable to force a decider, losing out 6-4 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-5).