ATP World number one Novak Djokovic on Thursday cruised into the third round of the French Open at the Philippe Charter Arena defeating Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in straight sets. The confident Serb dumped Berankis out of the French Open in three sets, winning the game 6-1,6-2,6-2 in thumping style. Djokovic moved closer to his 18th Grand Slam style following his 70th win at the Roland Garros. The Serb, who was knocked out of the US Open in the fourth, is aiming for his second Roland Garros title.
Djokovic, who last won the tournament in 2016, equalled Roger Federer’s record for victories at the tournament but is still behind Nadal’s all-time best tally of 95 wins.
Djokovic will now face Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan for a place at the round of 16.
“It was difficult for Ricardas in the third set as he had an injury and couldn’t move very well,” said Djokovic following his victory.
“But I felt good just as I did in the first round and I want to continue like that”, said Djokovic, who is bidding to become the first man in half a century to win all four majors twice.
Former champion Jelena Ostapenko swept second seed Karolina Pliskova out of the tournament, triumphing 6-4, 6-2 on the back of 27 winners. Ostapenko who won the French Open in 2019, handed Pliskova a defeat in straight sets. In a women’s draw plagued with withdrawals due to injuries world number 43, Ostapenko pressed her case for a second Paris title after her breakthrough campaign in 2017.
She will now face Spain’s Paula Badosa, who put out Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner and 2018 runner-up in Paris, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. “I tried to be aggressive but not miss too much as she’s such a great player,” said 23-year-old Ostapenko who had lost in the first round in her last two visits.
Ninth seed Denis Shapovalov committed 106 unforced errors as he crashed out following a 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 loss to Roberto Carballes Baena. Spanish world number 101 Carballes Baena prevailed after a five-hour battle on Court Suzanne Lenglen to set up a clash with 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Dimitrov downed Slovakia’s Andrej Martin 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 to reach the third round for a fourth successive year.
Also moving on was two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, whose best Roland Garros run was the semi-finals in 2012.
The seventh seed defeated Italy’s 94th-ranked Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-3 to register her 25th French Open win. Kvitova next faces 18-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada, last year’s junior champion, who reached the last 32 of a Slam for the first time by seeing off Polona Hercog 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Australian Open champion and fourth seed Sofia Kenin needed three sets to see off Ana Bogdan of Romania, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 while eighth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus took down Russia’s Darya Kasatkina 7-6 (8/6), 6-0.