Novak Djokovic is chasing a third French Open title / © AFP/File
Novak Djokovic continues his bid for a men's record 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the French Open on Friday, while Carlos Alcaraz faces Denis Shapovalov in the third round.
Here, AFP Sport takes a look ahead at three stand-out matches on the sixth day of the 2023 tournament (x denotes seeded player):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x3) v Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP x29)
Djokovic returns to Court Philippe Chatrier as he bids to reach the last 16 for a 21st consecutive Grand Slam tournament.
The Serb has made headlines for his comments about Kosovo this week but will be hoping his progress on court remains serene after two straight-sets wins so far.
Davidovich Fokina will likely provide a sterner test, though. The Spaniard has slipped to number 34 in the world rankings this season but was runner-up at the clay-court Monte Carlo Masters last year.
But two-time champion Djokovic, who has reached the French Open quarter-finals in each of the past 13 years, will be the red-hot favourite.
The 36-year-old is hoping to break out of his tie with injured rival Rafael Nadal at the top of the men's all-time list of major winners.
He is just one title behind Serena Williams' mark of 23 Slams and two adrift of Margaret Court's overall record.
Djokovic has won two of his three matches with Davidovich Fokina, but lost their last meeting in Monte Carlo 12 months ago.
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x1) v Denis Shapovalov (CAN x26)
Denis Shapovalov has reached the French Open third round for the first time / © AFP/File
The world number one came into the tournament as favourite for the title and has sparkled so far in his first two matches against opponents ranked outside the top 100.
Shapovalov is of a far higher calibre, though, despite struggling for form in recent months.
The Canadian was ranked in the top 10 less than two years ago and was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2021.
Shapovalov is a big admirer of Alcaraz, who is bidding for a second straight Slam title after winning the 2022 US Open and missing this year's Australian Open with injury.
"I think he's a great guy. He's super humble for achieving what he has at such a young age," said the 24-year-old ahead of their night-session encounter.
"You can see how much he enjoys being on the court."
Anna Blinkova v Elina Svitolina (UKR)
Elina Svitolina is a three-time Roland Garros quarter-finalist / © AFP
Ukrainian star Svitolina has impressed by reaching the third round on her first Grand Slam appearance since the 2022 Australian Open.
She is now on a seven-match winning run after also winning the title in Strasbourg last week, beating Blinkova in the final.
Svitolina refused to shake her Russian opponent's hand after that match and will likely repeat that stance on Friday.
Her compatriot Marta Kostyuk was surprisingly booed by the French crowd after her defeat by Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka.
"I feel mixture of different feelings, but they are bad feelings," Svitolina said about the ongoing war in Ukraine after her second-round win over Storm Hunter.
"They are anger, they are sadness, just heaviness. It's like this heaviness that I have on a daily basis, and all Ukrainians have. You cannot escape from this."
Former world number three Svitolina is currently ranked 192nd, but was outside the top 1,000 less than a month ago.
Married to French tennis star Gael Monfils, she recently returned from maternity leave, having previously taken a break from the sport due to health problems and mental exhaustion following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.