Paris • Second-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat Marin Cilic for the ninth straight time Friday to reach the fourth round of the French Open, laboring to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 win.
Djokovic never has lost to the Croat since they first played each other six years ago. But he dropped serve early to trail 3-1, made sloppy unforced errors in the tiebreaker and was broken back in the fourth set after leading 4-2. He won when Cilic double faulted.
The six-time Grand Slam champion next plays either 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France or No. 22 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, who played later Friday.
Djokovic is looking to win the French Open for the first time and lost to eight-time champion Rafael Nadal in the semifinals last year.
Roger Federer needed four sets to make it through to the fourth round, beating Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-4.
Federer, who had won his opening two matches in straight sets, converted only four of his 21 break-point opportunities against the 31st-seeded Russian.
Shortly after winning the second-set tiebreaker, Tursunov appeared to have a minor meltdown while trailing 2-1 in the third. He argued with the chair umpire and took a medical timeout. He left the court for several minutes, leaving Federer to practice some serves while awaiting his opponent’s return.
Federer is trying to win the title at Roland Garros for the second time. He is the 2009 champion, but he lost in the quarterfinals last year.