French Open: No drama in Paris as the big guns advance to next rounds

Elsewhere, defending champion Iga Swiatek says she is not concerned by records as she continues her bid for a third French Open win in four years

French Open: No drama in Paris as the big guns advance to next rounds
Carlos Alcaraz

Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic joined Carlos Alcaraz in the French Open third round as the pair remained on course for a semi-final meeting in Paris.

Serbia's Djokovic, bidding for a men's record 23rd major singles title, beat Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 6-3.

The win came after Djokovic was criticised for writing a political message about Kosovo on a camera lens at Roland Garros.

World number one Alcaraz earlier beat Japan's Taro Daniel 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-2.

Djokovic cut a frustrated figure during the first set, having to save multiple break points in each service game before being taken to a tie-break after squandering 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.

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.

"I enjoy being this kind of stadium, these kind of tournament, cities. That's the most important for me to enjoy, and that's why I smile all the time."

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.

Asked about the way clay courts are cleaned and watered between sets, he said: "Those rituals, I have seen them over and over again.

"It's kind of ingrained in me and it's part of my identity.

"It's a cleansing of the soul. You let the old pass and you start with the new."

'Winning in these atmospheres makes dark days worth it'

Elsewhere, defending champion Iga Swiatek says she is not concerned by records as she continues her bid for a third French Open win in four years.

The Polish world number one faces American Claire Liu in the second round on Thursday.

A third title would see her equal Serena Williams and Monica Seles' record at Roland Garros, but such numbers do not interest Swiatek.

"I don't even know these records," the 21-year-old said.

"I play tennis but I'm not really an expert in terms of statistics and history, so I'm not really focused on that.

"I never even played Serena or Monica Seles. I'm kind of living my own life and having my own journey."

Top-10 seeds Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, Kazakh Elena Rybakina and American Coco Gauff will feature during the day on Thursday.

However, the night session features a men's singles for the fourth time in five days with former semi-finalist Alexander Zverev taking on Alex Molcan.

Danish sixth seed Holger Rune's match against home favourite Gael Monfils had initially been scheduled for the late session on Court Philippe Chatrier, but Monfils withdrew on Wednesday with injury, handing Rune a walkover.

Last year's runner-up Casper Ruud and Italian eighth seed Jannik Sinner are also in action on the fifth day.