Novak Djokovic secures last eight place for 14th straight French Open

Novak Djokovic plays at French Open

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic breezed into the French Open quarterfinals for the 14th consecutive year with a straightforward round of 16 win.

The unexpected run of Peruvian outsider Juan Pablo Varillas came to an end in straight sets against third seed Djokovic, who is vying for a record-breaking 23rd men’s Grand Slam singles victory at Roland Garros.

Djokovic, a two-time winner in Paris, defeated the 94th-ranked Varillas 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to move on to a match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov, the 11th seed who defeated Lorenzo Sonego in four sets earlier in the day.

He admitted there was a certain amount of trepidation ahead of a match against an unfamiliar opponent.

Djokovic zoned in quickly and settled down to play what he felt was his best tennis of the week.

“I had never played my opponent before. I knew he was a clay court specialist and that I had to earn the victory. It was the best I played this week,” said Djokovic.

“It came exactly at the right time, as I’m coming in to the second week and obviously playing another quarter-final, the matches are going to get tougher. Bigger challenges, but I like the way I’m playing and the way I’m feeling, so I look forward to a new challenge.”

Through four rounds, the 36-year-old Djokovic has not yet lost a set. He has reached the last eight of the clay court Major for a record-tying 17th time.

Djokovic feels that the matchup extracted the best from him but also builds his confidence heading into the second week.

He appears to have shaken off the injury woes that plagued his fractured clay swing, which followed an enforced absence from the Sunshine Double.

Djokovic doesn’t believe that he is under any extra pressure as he stands on the brink of Grand Slam history.

“[I’m] definitely better than I did in the last couple of months,” said Djokovic.

“The past 10 days have been the best that I have felt since the Australian Open, so that’s good. That’s positive news. I just have to keep going and not allow myself to think too far [ahead], but I’m on a good path.”

Djokovic’s defence was rock-solid throughout the clash, and he struck his groundstrokes with a persistent depth and power that prevented his opponent from gaining a foothold in the match.

Djokovic delivered a close-to-perfect display to improve his career record at Roland Garros to 89-16.

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