Novak Djokovic powered past Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-3 6-2 on Friday with a near flawless performance to reach the French Open fourth round and stay firmly on course to challenge for a record-equalling 21st Grand Slam triumph.
The 35-year-old world number one, who was on court for less than two hours, next plays 15th seed Diego Schwartzmann of Argentina and if victorious could face 13-times winner Rafael Nadal in what would be a mouth-watering last eight clash.
“It’s not possible to play perfectly but to strive to play close to perfection,” Djokovic said in an on-court interview.
“I want to play my characteristic game, my aggressive game. It is not always possible but today it was very good.”
Djokovic’s next opponent is a claycourt specialist and the Serbian warned of Schwartzmann’s speed and work ethic although the top seed has won all six of their previous encounters.
“He is one of the quickest players on tour. His best results in his career came on clay,” Djokovic told a news conference later. “Playing against him you always expect the ball to come back. I expect a physical battle.”
On Friday, however, Djokovic had an easy match against Slovenian Bedene, ranked 195th in the world after an eight-month layoff and return to action in March, who was no match for the 35-year-old’s power and near-flawless service games.
The Serbian wasted three break points at 2-1 in the first set but quickly got another chance to breeze through it in just over 30 minutes.
He got two more breaks in the second to clinch it as quickly as the first with Bedene failing to carve out a break chance in the match, and winning just five points on Djokovic’s serve in the first two sets.
The third set went in similar fashion with Djokovic breaking early and Bedene, who made twice as many unforced errors as his opponent, failed to respond before the top seed triumphed when the Slovenian netted a forehand after an hour and 44 minutes.
Belarusian Azarenka crashed out of French Open by 23rd seed Teichmann
Twice Grand Slam champion Viktoria Azarenka slumped out of the French Open after Swiss 23rd seed Jil Teichmann battled from a set down to win 4-6 7-5 7-6(5) and secure a spot in the fourth round on Friday.
The Belarusian 32-year-old former world number one, seeded 15th in Paris, powered from 3-0 down at the start of the first set and then again from 4-3 behind to win the next three straight games to secure the opening set.
Azarenka looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory when she broke Teichmann to go 4-2 up in the second with her powerful baseline play and continuous drop shots dictating the game.
But in a reversal of the opening set, it was the 24-year-old Swiss left-hander’s turn to battle back, mixing it up and clinching five of the next six games to force a decider.
Teichmann kept up the pressure and, after the pair traded two breaks each, won the tiebreak following more than three hours to reach a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time.
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