The Novak Djokovic juggernaut continued to roll merrily in Paris as the Serbian World No 1 cruised into the fourth round on Friday with a straight-sets victory against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, extending his winning streak to eight matches on Friday.
The World No. 1, who captured a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 crown in Rome earlier in May, has looked in control throughout the first week in Paris, where the 35-year-old is yet to drop a set. He extended that run on Friday by beating Bedene 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in a third-round clash.
The match-up must have rekindled some memories for Djokovic as he had defeated Aljaz Bedene in the third round en route to winning his maiden French Open title six years ago and the Serbian must have felt elated on beating the Slovenian at the same stage in 2022 as he hopes to win a third Roland Garros crown in the next few days.
Djokovic had not fallen before the quarter-finals in Paris in 13 years and his now 195th-ranked opponent – whose recent seasons were littered with injuries – faced a huge task to land his first win in the pair’s four meetings.
In a strong performance against Bedene on Court Philippe Chatrier, Djokovic fired 30 winners and committed just 18 unforced errors as he dictated the baseline exchanges to book his place in the fourth round for the 16th time.
Following his one-hour, 45-minute victory, the Serbian will next play Argentine Diego Schwartzman. Djokovic will enter the match holding a 6-0 lead in head-to-head series over the 15th seed, according to a report on the ATP website.
In a confident display, Djokovic disrupted Bedene’s rhythm with his sliced backhand and looked strong on serve, losing just two points behind his first serve in the opening two sets. The top seed struck his groundstrokes cleanly, with Bedene continuously hitting the ball into Djokovic’s hitting zone.
The Slovenian was unable to harm the World No. 1 from the baseline in the third set as Djokovic continued to serve well and outmaneuver Bedene to record his 15th victory of the season.
Though Djokovic was happy with his performance, he did not feel he played a perfect game.
“It’s subjective. You can’t play a perfect match but you always try to play close to perfection. I have big expectations on my level every day, whenever I enter a tennis court, when I am at training, to try and play my aggressive tennis. It’s not always possible but today, I did really well,” Djokovic was quoted by the official website of the French Open.
“I have grown in Serbia playing a lot on this surface (clay). But all tournaments are different. Here in Paris, the courts are perfect. It is a very high standard, it’s one of the greatest tournaments in the world so motivation is easy to find.” he added.
(Inputs from IANS)