Saturday 19 October 2019

Djokovic happy to be 'cruising' as he looks to continue streak

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff. Photo: AP Photo/Christophe Ena
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff. Photo: AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Novak Djokovic is into his record 10th consecutive French Open quarter-final, something not even King of Clay Rafael Nadal has managed to do.

Djokovic is yet to be challenged at all this year at Roland Garros; not only has he not lost a set, he's only twice ceded as many as four games in a set.

Extending his Grand Slam winning streak to 25 matches and closing in on a fourth championship in a row, Djokovic was dominant yet again in the fourth round yesterday, beating 45th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

"Everything is coming together beautifully. I'm motivated to fight for the trophy, yes. I mean, that's why I'm here," said Djokovic, who owns 15 Slam titles, including one in Paris. "But it's still a long way to go."

It's helped, certainly, that the No 1 ranked Djokovic has not needed to deal with a single seeded foe yet. That will change as he faces No 5 Alexander Zverev for a spot in the semi-finals.

Have things been too easy so far?

"I don't mind cruising along, to be honest," he said with a smile.

"I have played plenty of, I think, tight matches in my career, that I can rely on that experience."

"It's good to be tested from that perspective, but at the same time, it's also good to cruise along and kind of conserve the energy."

Eliminate

Djokovic and Zverev have split four previous tour meetings.

Zverev reached his second straight quarter-final in Paris by coming back to eliminate No 9 Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (5).

He's only 22, but Zverev has been touted as a future champion for quite some time.

He has yet to play in a major semi-final, though, and mentioned that he enjoyed going under the radar so far in this French Open, noting that 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, the sixth seed, was a subject of more focus until losing in the fourth round to Stan Wawrinka .

Unlike Djokovic, he has not exactly had an easy path to the round of eight. Zverev needed to win two five-setters in addition to going four against Fognini.

The other quarter-final on their half of the draw Wednesday pits No 4 Dominic Thiem against No 10 Karen Khachanov.

Thiem advanced by eliminating the last Frenchman in the field, No 14 Gael Monfils, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. A man from the host country hasn't won the French Open since Yannick Noah in 1983.

Rain is forecast for Tuesday, when the men's quarter-finals will be Roger Federer against Wawrinka, and Nadal against No 7 Kei Nishikori, who completed his two-day 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-7 (8), 7-5 fourth-round victory over Benoit Paire of France.

Tennis

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