Djokovic still battling as he edges past Bautista Agut

Djokovic still battling as he edges past Bautista Agut

Djokovic still battling as he edges past Bautista Agut

"I had to earn my victory", said Djokovic.

The 2016 champion showed plenty of aggression and went a set up when the 30th seed thudded a backhand into the net from the baseline with Djokovic charging forwards.

Djokovic was given a stiff test in the third round before prevailing against Roberto Bautista Agut in a near four-hour match on Friday.

He will now face Roberto Bautista Agut for the eighth time for a place in the pre-quarterfinals of the tournament.

There was excitement at the end of the second set too as a marathon game saw Zverev fail to serve it out to level the match, firing long on Khachanov's fifth break point after wasting three set points.

The former world number one has now made the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the 43rd time, tying with Jimmy Connors on the all-time list.

He continued to grind away in a topsy-turvy third set, though, with Bautista Agut failing to serving it out as both players were broken three times.

"It was a very warm day, and after the first set they decided not to water the court, which I thought it was not the right decision", Djokovic told reporters after reaching his 12th quarter-final at Roland Garros.

How do they match up?

"I'm not proud of that, to be honest".

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Thankfully, Djokovic regained his composure and held his nerve when the third set went to another tiebreak.

"It was a big point", Djokovic explained, "And I managed to come back from being down in the tie-break, and 6-6". "He plays with so much consistency you have to have patience".

It was anticipated the Spaniard would provide a sterner challenge to Djokovic than any of the Serb's previous opponents and his fighting spirit - not to mention his all-round game - troubled his decorated rival.

Djokovic and Bautista Agut have met seven times so far over the course of their careers and it is Djokovic who has dominated the rivalry, winning six of those matches.

The 30-year-old said he wanted to play to take his mind off his loss.

"That's the thing I've been doing for a lot of years". If the ball went over it would be a victor, and I hit the top of the net.

When is Novak Djokovic vs Fernando Verdasco on and what time does it start?

Djokovic, ranked as low as 20, is eying to match Roger Federer's Open Era record of nine successive quarter-final appearances in Roland Garros as he takes on in-form Verdasco later today.

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