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 has never 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 play later on Thursday.
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.