Djokovic moves through gears to earn another Paris win

Defending champion Novak Djokovic moved efficiently through the gears once again to beat Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena and reach the French Open third round.

Serbia’s Djokovic, 37, cruised to a 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory on another rain-soaked day in Paris.

It ensured he has reached the third round at the clay-court Grand Slam for the 19th consecutive year.

Question marks surrounded the three-time champion and his form when he arrived at Roland Garros following a turbulent year.

Before the tournament Djokovic said he had “low expectations but high hopes” of success having not reached a final all season.

So far he has done enough but knows tougher tests lie ahead.

Like in his opening match against France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert, he was not fully stretched by 63rd-ranked Carballes Baena and had enough quality in the key moments to win in straight sets.

Playing under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier, Djokovic lost serve in the first game of the match before his game warmed up in the cool conditions.

One of the hallmarks of Djokovic’s success has been the ability to strike when it matters most.

After breaking straight back for 1-1, and being unable to convert any of four break points at 2-1, he upped his level again to break Carballes Baena when the Spaniard had to serve to stay in the set.

On the day when the French Open asked fans to show more respect, Djokovic also had to ask the umpire to ensure the crowd remained quiet during points.

That led to a chorus of whistles, but Djokovic responded with a smile when he took control of the second and third sets.

Zverev sails into third round with routine win

Alexander Zverev
Image caption,Zverev has never won a Grand Slam tournament

Alexander Zverev booked his place in the third round of the French Open with a routine straight-set victory over Belgium’s David Goffin.

The German sixth seed continued to underline his title credentials with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-2 win.

Zverev has reached the semi-finals in his last three appearances at Roland Garros and is considered a favourite this year after winning the Italian Open earlier this month.

He will face Dutch 26th seed Tallon Griekspoor or Italy’s Luciano Darderi next.

After criticising the crowds earlier in the week, Goffin received a warmer reception on Court Suzanne Lenglen on Thursday.

But the world number 115, after offering Zverev just one break point opportunity in the first set, faltered in the opening set tie-break.

Zverev seized control from there, breaking early and again at 4-2 in the second set, while he earned successive breaks in the third before serving out the victory.

The 27-year-old has insisted a court case over domestic abuse allegations will not distract his title bid at the French Open.

Zverev has denied the charges, with a hearing set to begin on Friday in Germany.

Elsewhere on Thursday, Daniil Medvedev progressed after his opponent Miomir Kecmanovic retired from their match.

Russian men’s fifth seed Medvedev was leading the second round contest 6-1 5-0 when Serbia’s Kecmanovic decided he could not continue.

Kecmanovic, 24, shook his head in the direction of the chair umpire after losing his serve for a third time in the second set, with 55 minutes on the clock.

Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion, will play Argentine 31st seed Mariano Navone or Czech Tomas Machac next.

Medvedev, 28, whose best French Open performance was a run to the quarter-finals in 2021, had hit 26 winners and just six unforced errors in an impressive display against his 57th-ranked opponent.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov managed to secure his spot in the third round before rain disrupted play on the outdoor courts, beating Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan 6-0 6-3 6-4.

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