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KEY DATES FOR WIMBLEDON 2017

Qualifying begins: 26 June

The Draw: 30 June

Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July

Order of Play: 2 July

Championships begin: 3 July

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News
Friday, 2 June 2017 22:22 PM BST
French Open Day 6: Djokovic escapes as Nadal dominates
Wimbledon.com rounds up the action from Day 6 at the 2017 French Open. READ MORE

The balance of power at the French Open shifted a little more on Friday as the defending champion Novak Djokovic struggled while Rafael Nadal reminded everyone why he has won the title nine times.

Djokovic was put to the test by an inspired Diego Schwartzman, a diminutive Argentinian whose consistency, quick feet and strong double-handed backhand drove Djokovic to distraction before he eventually prevailed in five sets.

Nadal steamrolled Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia with a stunning performance, losing just one game to record the largest margin of victory he has ever managed at Roland Garros.

Djokovic survives

Andre Agassi stayed in Paris for an extra day to watch his new charge but the American will have headed home to Las Vegas wondering if his job might just be a little harder than he first thought.

Djokovic, who completed the career Grand Slam when he won the French Open last year, again showed the uncustomary vulnerability that has affected him ever since that triumph.

On another muggy day with temperatures reaching up to 28 degrees Celsius, Djokovic made too many wild errors as he fell two sets to one down to world No.41 Schwartzman.

The Argentinian won just seven games in their only previous meeting but had Djokovic, who received two warnings from the umpire, fretting when he won the first and third sets.

To his credit, Djokovic won the last two sets with ease to clinch a 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 win and rather than being worried, he said having a tough test early on could be beneficial later in the tournament.

“Sometimes you need to be challenged in order for certain things to surface, which maybe are not surfacing if you're winning comfortably,” said Djokovic, who plays Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas next.

Nadal, Venus Williams storm through

Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili may have been wearing a skull on his black headband and army-green shirt, but there was no intimidatory effect on Nadal, who dropped just one game to take his best-of-five match record on clay to 98-2.

On the eve of his 31st birthday, Nadal treated the crowd on the Court Philippe Chatrier to an utterly brilliant 90-minute performance, as he ripped 27 winners past an opponent who had reached a clay court final in Lyon the week before Roland Garros and had beaten two accomplished opponents in rounds one and two.

“He's (a) much, much better player than I am,” Basilashvili said after the match.

Next up for Nadal is fellow Spaniard Roberta Bautista Agut, whom he beat in straight sets the one time they played.

Venus Williams stormed into the last 16 for the loss of just four games against 21-year-old Elise Mertens of Belgium. The 36-year-old American plays 2015 semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky next.

When asked what it meant to be playing in her 20th French Open, Williams provided the quote of the day.

“Twenty years, wow. I’ll be honest, there won’t be 20 more," she told 2013 Wimbledon singles champion Marion Bartoli.

"I will be watching in 20 years with all of you guys.”

Kiki breaks new ground

Down 5-2 in the final set against American Shelby Rogers, Kristina Mladenovic pulled out all the stops, rallying to record a 7-5, 4-6, 8-6 win, putting her in the fourth round for the first time.

Mladenovic is dreaming big but can she overcome the defending champion from Spain, Garbine Muguruza, in her next match? The Spaniard downed 2016 quarter-finalist Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, 7-5, 6-2, and is gaining confidence with every round.

Mladenovic won the only time they played, on the clay of Marrakech in 2015. And this time, she will have the home crowd behind her. Jennifer Brady, who lost to the 13th seeded Frenchwoman in the first round, likened the noise of the crowd on the main Court Philippe Chatrier to “someone putting a microphone to my ear.” 

Around the grounds

David Goffin was forced to retire when he suffered a freak injury in his match with Horacio Zeballos of Argentina.

The Belgian 10th seed, who was leading 5-4 in the first set, was chasing a ball way behind the baseline when he got his right foot caught under the covers, which were lying at the back of the court. Goffin, who later sported a protective boot, will hope to recover in time for Wimbledon.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 winner from Russia, reached the last sixteen for the 12th time with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5 win over Shuai Zhang of China.