PARIS, June 2 (Reuters) - Defending champion Novak Djokovic survived his first stern test at the French Open on Friday, as he came from two sets to one down to overcome world number 41 Diego Schwartzman 5-7 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-1 and move into the last 16.
The second seed, now joint third on the all-time list for most wins at Roland Garros with 58, broke the Argentine to go 3-1 up in the first set.
But instead of cruising through he was broken twice with Schwartzman, in top form on clay this season and snatching the set as dark clouds gathered above the Court Philippe Chatrier.
The Serb recovered to secure the second set but with 42 unforced errors in the first three sets alone, including a backhand that flew long to hand Schwartzman the third, he struggled for consistency.
Under threat of becoming the first defending champion to lose prior to the round of 16 since Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2004, Djokovic kept his cool, despite a time violation and a warning, to take the match to a decider.
Two more breaks put him in control and a third gave him a spot in the last 16, where he will face either France’s Lucas Pouille or Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by John Stonestreet