French Open: Djokovic beats Schwartzman to seal berth in quarterfinals

Paris: World No.1 Novak Djokovic moved one step closer to defend his French Open title, beating Argentine No.15 seed Diego Schwartzman to reach the 13th consecutive quarterfinal at Roland Garros here on Sunday.

The top seed came up with a high-quality fourth-round performance as he saved seven break points while converting six of his own in a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 victory to set a quarterfinal showdown with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal or Felix Auger-Aliassime in the French capital.

Djokovic improved to 16-0 in fourth-round matches here in Paris as he registered another straight-sets victory after easing past Yoshihito Nishioka, Alex Molcan and Aljaz Bedene in his opening three rounds.

On Sunday, he came up with a convincing display to see off the threat of the 15th seed Schwartzman, who had taken the Serbian World No 1 to five sets in their previous meeting at Roland Garros in 2017. On Sunday, Schwartzman was unable to produce the same level of play and drag the top seed into another drawn-out battle

The World No. 1 required five sets to overcome the Argentine in the pair’s previous meeting at Roland Garros in 2017, but his all-around level this time around was such that Schwartzman was unable to drag the top seed into another drawn-out battle.

Djokovic, who holds a 6-0 head-to-head advantage against Schwartzman, fended off two break points to hold in the third game as the Argentine proved typically difficult to break down in the opening exchanges. But those opportunities proved to be as good as they get for the Argentine in the first set. Djokovic broke twice to ease to victory in the opening set as his return game began to fire.

A change of tactics from Schwartzman brought some respite early in the second set. The Argentine attempted to quell the flow of winners from Djokovic by becoming aggressive on his own groundstrokes, and the 15th seed soon found himself 3-0 up as the Serbian momentarily lost his way.

The revival was short-lived, however, as Djokovic raised his level to reel off seven games in a row with a stunning display full of clean hitting, clever drop shots, and relentless defence that left Schwartzman again scrambling for a foothold in the match.

Schwartzman had showcased his trademark resilience in coming back from two sets down to defeat Jaume Munar in the second round, but the Argentine was unable to exert enough consistent pressure to threaten a similar feat against Djokovic.

After the Serbian had stormed to the second set, the World No. 1 made his move by breaking in the sixth game of the third, showing some delightful touches at the net on his way to a two-hour, 15-minute win.

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