Novak Djokovic shatters Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam record, joins Roger Federer with third-round win in French Open 2023
Djokovic, who now stands four wins away from claiming a record 23rd Slam and returning to the No.1 ranking spot, will next face Juan Pablo Varillas
Novak Djokovic on Friday dug deep twice in tension-laden tie-breakers against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the third-round match of the 2023 French Open to seal a 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-2 win. And with that he avenged his defeat against the Spaniard a year ago at the Monte Carlo Masters. While the win was enough to keep Djokovic still the firm favourite for the title at Roland Garros, it helped him shatter Rafael Nadal's elusive Grand Slam record and join Roger Federer in an elite list.
Djokovic hit a career milestone on Friday with the third-round win as he reached the second week of a Grand Slam for the 60th time of his career. Surprisingly, 17 of those have come in 18 appearances at the Roland Garros, while 15 came in Australian Open where he won 10 titles and 14 each at Wimbledon and US Open. The most significant part of the tally is that Djokovic reached the second week 60 times in his last 65 Grand Slam appearances after suffering first-week exits in all his first five appearances. And 21 of those came on consecutive occasions, dating back to French Open 2017.
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With that milestone, the Serb became only the second player to reach that mark after Federer's 69 such appearances. Nadal stands third on the list with his tally of 54.
The win also saw Djokovic surpass Nadal to stand second in men's singles tennis for win percentage at Grand Slams in Open Era (minimum 10 matches) at 87.98, only marginally ahead of the Spaniard (87.96). Djokovic now only trails the legendary Bjorn Borg (89.24).
Djokovic, who now stands four wins away from claiming a record 23rd Slam and returning to the No.1 ranking spot, will next face Juan Pablo Varillas, who defeated 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz in an intense five-setter.