Novak Djokovic handed Diego Schwartzman a seventh straight win in their lop-sided series, with the top seed crushing the Argentine pocket rocket 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in the French Open fourth round on Sunday.

The Serb took two and a quarter hours to move through to his 16th consecutive quarter-final at the event and his 13th in succession.

The pair met here in 2017, with Djokovic taking a five-set victory.

“Grand Slams have always been a priority for the scheduling,” Djokovic said of his consistency and Tour longevity.

“I always wanted to perform my best at these tournaments. 

“I’m really glad that I managed to create that kind of consistency over the years and still going strong.”

The top seed who is fighting to maintain his pace atop the ATP list, will need all of his game in a high-profile showdown in the next round with Rafael Nadal.

Spain’s 13-time champion here had to battle to overcome Felix Auger-Aliassime 

3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 with the Canadian ironically coached by Nadal’s uncle Toni, his own former mentor.

So torn was the elder Nadal that he said he would refuse to give FAA any advice on how to play his nephew.,

Djokovic broke Schwartzman six times and fired 29 winners.

The Serb was basically untroubled throughout, save a second-set niggle when he went down a break and trailed 3-0.

But that issue was settled in a quick comeback as the South American was unable to cause any further trouble, going down after saving a match point.

“Diego’s a clay specialist, it’s not easy to play him in these (low-bouncing) conditions,” Djokovic said.

“But I found my serve at the right moment, I’m content with the win, but it’s not over yet. There is work still to be done.”

Nadal had to produce the win of his life to get past Auger-Aliassime, losing the opening set, winning the next two and finally going to the attack from the net to finish off the fifth with a victory in nearly four and a half hours.

“I didn’t start the match well, I had a lot of opportunities (seven break points, one converted),,” the 13-time Roland Garros champion said.

“It was a tough set for me. But after coming back in the next two sets I finished playing much better. 

“Felix has a huge serve and puts a lot of pressure on you.

“I’m very happy that I played aggressive at the end – that made a difference.”

Nadal and Djokovic will square off on Tuesday in a match which would be a final anywhere else.

“We know each other well with a lot of history.”

The pair will be playing for the 10th time on the Paris clay with their last meeting a semifinal in 2021 by the Serb.

“He won Rome so it’s not ideal for me,” Nadal said. “But we are at my favourite place, I will try my best as always.”

The Spaniard showed his trademark fighting spirit in the final set when he broke to a thunderous reaction for 5-3 in the fifth set,  sending his opponent on a wild chase to the baseline for a ball he could never reach.

Nadal fired an untouchable forehand a game later for two match points; he needed only one as he won a duel of volleys at the net, sending the ball into the empty court to claim victory.

Third seed Alexander Zverev managed a win over a hyped-up Spanish qualifier as experience overcame enthusiasm in a 7-6(11), 7-5, 6-3 defeat of Bernabe Zapata Miralles, whose ranking stands outside the Top 1000.

“He drove me nuts, he’s one of the fastest on Tour,” Zverev said. “”I felt every return was put on the baseline.

“We played three sets but we played three hours. He was playing the best tennis of his life, with the crowd supporting him. 

“You can see how hardworking he is.”

Zverev had to steady and win the last three games to ensure passage to the quarter-finals.

Main photo:- Novak Djokovic celebrates after a seventh victory over Diego Schwartzman – by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd