Slow start not costly as Djokovic eases into last eight
Defending champion Novak Djokovic overcame a sluggish start against Albert Ramos-Vinolas to book his place in the French Open quarter-finals with a straight-sets victory.
In the absence of new coach Andre Agassi, who had been scheduled to leave Paris for a prior engagement, Djokovic was well below his best on Court Philippe Chatrier during an underwhelming start to the last singles match of the opening week at Roland Garros.
However, Ramos-Vinolas failed to take advantage after twice moving a break up in the opener and Djokovic was ultimately able to progress with a degree of comfort, winning 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 6-3.
The Serbian, who was taken to five sets by Diego Schwartzman in his previous match, is likely to require an improved performance to make the semi-finals, with in-form sixth seed Dominic Thiem his next opponent.
Djokovic will certainly not have been satisfied with his efforts in a low-quality first set on Sunday, as the unforced error tally of each player comfortably outstripped their respective number of winners.
However, he eventually moved ahead after 73 minutes, coming through a tie-break that he led 4-0 before being pegged back to 4-4.
The reigning champion was then able to raise his level in the second set, with Ramos-Vinolas unable to respond in kind as his hopes of springing a shock faded.
To his credit, Ramos-Vinolas responded to falling 2-0 down in set three by immediately breaking back to love and then winning the standout point of the match - an extraordinary 41-shot rally that prompted a standing ovation - to save another break point.
Djokovic was soon back in control, though, and wrapped up victory with a cross-court forehand winner.
Djokovic  bt Ramos-Vinolas  7-6 [7-5] 6-1 6-3
Djokovic - 34/30
Ramos-Vinolas - 28/37
Djokovic - 3/0
Ramos-Vinolas - 3/2
BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic - 7/10
Ramos-Vinolas - 3/8
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Djokovic - 62
Ramos-Vinolas - 65
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Djokovic - 72/47
Ramos-Vinolas - 53/46
Djokovic - 111
Ramos-Vinolas - 87