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31.05.2019 Tennis

Djokovic breezes into French Open third round

By Paul Myers - RFI
RFI/Pierre René-Worms
MAY 31, 2019 TENNIS

Top seed Novak Djokovic eased into the third round of the French Open on Thursday with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 win over Henri Laaksonen from Switzerland. Djokovic, 32, who is seeking a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title, said: "I was very solid. I played as much as I needed to play to win in straight sets. I didn't spend too much time on the court. So all is going in the right direction"

Djokovic, 32, who is seeking a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title, said: "I was very solid. I played as much as I needed to play to win in straight sets. I didn't spend too much time on the court. So all is going in the right direction."

The Serb will next play Salvatore Caruso after the 26-year-old Italian beat the veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon in straight sets to the chagrin of the partisans.

"It will be really interesting," said Djokovic of his next clash. "It will be the third match in a row that I get to play against someone that I have never faced before in a match. That never happened, I think, in my career, and in a Grand Slam."

Fifth seed Alex Zverev also enjoyed a straight sets victory. He saw off the Swede Mikael Ymer 6-1, 6-3, 7-6.

However, the fourth seed Dominic Thiem struggled against the wiles of Alexander Bublik. The 21-year-old from Kazakhstan used an underhand serve on several occasions during their four set encounter.

“To be honest, it's a good choice against players like us who stand far behind the baseline,” said Thiem. “There is nothing bad about it. I was prepared for that, so that was no problem. But it was tough because I had difficulties to find the good return position.”

Thiem, who reached last year's final, saved two set points in the fourth set before clinching it 7-5. The 25-year-old Austrian will next face Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay. He advanced to the third round after Kyle Edmund retired from their match with an injury to his left knee.

Elsewhere in the men's second round, the eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro needed five sets to dispose of Yoshihito Nishioka while the 14th seed Gael Monfils had too much guile for his fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. Monfils claimed the encounter 6–3, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting with compatriot Antoine Hoang who dispatched the Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco in four sets.

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