Wednesday, July 24, 2024

French Open: Dominant Djokovic charges into quarterfinals, to face Khachanov next

Two-time champion Novak Djokovic romped to another comprehensive victory at the French Open, reaching the last-eight stage for a record 17th time by beating Juan Pablo Varillas in straight sets at the Roland Garros on Sunday.

Djokovic thus maintained his chase for a record 23rd Grand Slam title and the World No.1 Ranking as he raced past Juan Pablo Varillas 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Djokovic dominated his No. 94-ranked opponent on Court Philippe Chatrier, where he struck the ball cleanly off both wings throughout his one-hour, 57-minute victory. He fired 35 winners and converted six of the 12 break points he earned to book a clash against Karen Khachanov in the last eight in Paris.

Djokovic has one more motivation to push for the title in the French capital as a third Roland Garros crown would also help him become the first player to complete three career Grand Slams.

After fending off a break point to hold in the opening game of the match, Djokovic raced to a 4-0 lead with some early high-class baseline hitting.

The 36-year-old struck consistently with depth and power, offering Varillas few opportunities to dictate rallies. Aside from dropping serve in the fifth game as Varillas battled, Djokovic delivered a near-complete display to improve to 89-16 at Roland Garros.

Despite defeat to Djokovic, Varillas leaves Paris with fond memories of a dream run to his first fourth-round appearance at a major. The 27-year-old is the Peruvian to reach that stage at Roland Garros since Jaime Yzaga in 1994.

Khachanov earlier advanced to his third consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-1 victory against Lorenzo Sonego.

The 11th-seeded Khachanov fell behind quickly against the ultra-aggressive Sonego, but after levelling the match by clinching the only break of the second set, he produced a crucial comeback in the third-set tie-break to assume control of the match. Khachanov rallied from 0/4 and saved a set point at 6/7 before prevailing, and then dominated the third set for a three-hour, 29-minute triumph.

Khachanov, who reached the semi-f’nals at last year’s US Open and the Australian Open in January, finished the match having struck 36 winners to 34 unforced errors. He is now 21-6 at Roland Garros, where he also reached the quarter-finals in 2019.

With his run in Paris so far this fortnight, Khachanov has risen one spot to No. 10 in the ATP Live Rankings. The 27-year-old has reached a career-high of No. 8 in the ATP Rankings but has not been in the Top 10 since October 2019.



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