Djokovic Sprints Into Roland Garros Third Round

Serbian to next face Italian qualifier

Novak Djokovic improved to 10-0 against lucky losers on Thursday, coasting 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 against Swiss Henri Laaksonen to make the third round at Roland Garros.

The 2016 champion converted six of his 10 break points and spent only 93 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Djokovic is going for the “Nole Slam” again this fortnight, having won the past three Grand Slams, including a record-setting seventh Australian Open in January.You May Also Like: Thiem Works Hard For Bublik Win At Roland Garros

“He doesn’t give anything for free and you have to earn every single point,” Laaksonen said. “I did everything I could.”

When asked what has pleased him most in two matches at Roland Garros this week, Djokovic said, “I think I served well. I used my forehand from different parts of the court really well. Solid backhand. Just two very solid matches. I didn’t drop my level too much. I didn’t spend too much time on the court. So all is going in the right direction.”

Djokovic, through to the Roland Garros third round for the 14th time, will face Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, No. 147 in the ATP Rankings, for a place in the Round of 16. Caruso, 26, beat Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to make his first third round at a Grand Slam.

“I’ve never trained [with Caruso],” said Djokovic. “[I] don’t know much about him, to be honest… I’m going to have to do my homework, do analysis on him. I watched him play a little bit today when I was waiting for my match. I saw he came from qualifications. He won what, now, five matches? So there is a lot of confidence. He has nothing to lose. I’m sure he’s going to be very motivated to play his best.”

A disappointed Simon admitted, “A lot of things happened. It was hard for me to believe it. During the third set, I was not satisfied with what I was doing on court. He was more confident, he had the momentum, and this is what is the key to success in such crucial times.”

Top Frenchman Gael Monfils, the No .14 seed, advanced to the third round for the 11th time at Roland Garros by dismissing countryman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The 32-year-old has yet to drop a set in Paris. 

“I entered very well in into the match,” said Monfils. “I had a difficult moment in the beginning of the second set with less intensity that enabled him to enter the match, to be more aggressive and to win the break. Again, I have to try to better manage my beginnings of second sets. And then afterwards, I did a solid match today by serving quite strongly and quite fast, and I was successful.”

Monfils will next face another Frenchman, Antoine Hoang, for a place in the Round of 16. “Of course it’s going to be a big match…. But with Antoine, is the first time I will play him, so I don’t know him very well. I don’t really know what to expect,” he admitted.

The 146th-ranked Hoang, who had only one tour-level win before this week, upset former World No. 7 Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 in front of a partisan crowd on Court 1. 

“First time for me to play in front of so many people,” said the 23-year-old. “Such a great atmosphere like that. I think from the first point to the last point, there is so much noise between every point… It’s such a pleasure, and it helps me a lot to enjoy every moment, to stay focused in the present.”

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