Djokovic eases into third round

Thirty-nine wins and counting as Serbian breezes through at Roland Garros.

    Djokovic looks in top form to unseat top-seeded Rafael Nadal [AFP]

    Novak Djokovic took his winning streak to 39 on Wednesday as he breezed past an injured Victor Hanescu at the French Open to set up a mouth-watering clash against Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the third round.

    Hanescu retired while trailing 6-4, 6-1, 2-3 giving the Serbian an even greater chance of reliving five-time champion Rafael Nadal of his Roland Garros title and top ranking.

    Also in Paris, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and 2010 French Open finalists Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur also advanced to the third round. On the men's side, Roger Federer, David Ferrer of Spain and Gael Monfils of France also made it through.

    Great expectations

    Successive final wins over five-times Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal in Madrid and Rome have raised expectations the second seed can dethrone the Spaniard, especially after the world number one's struggle against John Isner on Tuesday.

    "It's going to be a great match, a battle," Djokovic told a news conference looking ahead to Friday's match on the clay against Del Potro.

    "He has always had the qualities to be at the top of the men's game. It's going to be a challenge for both of us and a great match for people to see."

    Hanescu put up a decent fight but was never really in the match and suddenly decided to call it a day during a changeover after massaging his leg.

    A slimline Djokovic was solid in all departments and again fluently slid around the court with a new gluten-free diet one of the reasons he has given for his stunning form.

    "I served really well during the whole match so that makes me happy for the upcoming rounds," Australian Open champion Djokovic said.

    Djokovic, who has also won all four Masters titles in 2011, now stands five wins away from equalling Guillermo Vilas's record for a winning streak.

    He is also only three away from John McEnroe's 1984 record for an undefeated start to a season.

    Argentine 25th seed Del Potro, the former US Open champion and a 2009 semi-finalist in Paris, made the last 32 with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic.

    Federer through

    Third-seeded Roger Federer won 13 games in succession as the 16-time Grand Slam title-winner easily disposed of French wild card Maxime Teixeira 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 in his second-round tie.

    The 2009 champion will next face Serbian 29th seed Janko Tipsarevic, who beat Spain's Pere Riba.

    The Swiss great overcame an early break before breezing through in just 84 minutes, leaving Teixeira, playing in his first Grand Slam event, looking every inch the world 181.

    "He fought really hard and was trying his best," said Federer.

    "It was a good match. I'm happy with the way I played. I feel like I am in the tournament now."

    Federer will next face 29th-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, who beat Pere Riba of Spain 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.

    Ferrer advanced by beating Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. The Spaniard has twice reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, in 2005 and '08.

    Wozniacki beat Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (6). The Dane trailed 6-3 in the tiebreaker but won the final five points, saving three set points to reach the third round.

    "I started off really well, and everything was going the way I wanted it to,'' said Wozniacki, who is still chasing her first Grand Slam title.

    "Second set, she played better. I started to play a little bit worse.''

    Australian Stosur, who lost to Schiavone in last year's final at Roland Garros, advanced to the third round by beating Simona Halep 6-0, 6-2. The eighth-seeded Stosur had 21 winners and broke her opponent six times before she served out the match at love.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Pick your team and answer as many correct questions in three minutes.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Remembering Chernobyl

    Remembering Chernobyl

    The fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion remains as politicised as ever, 28 years on.