Djokovic Flies into Third Round of Roland Garros; Former Champ Ostapenko Knocks out Second Seed
(October 1, 2020) World No. 1 Novak Djokovic recorded his 70th match win at Roland Garros on Thursday with an easy 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ricardas Berankis in 83 minutes to reach the third round.
“Well, Grand Slams are obviously the biggest tournaments in our sport,” said Djokovic of moving into a tie for second-most wins at the French Open all-time alongside Roger Federer. Only Rafael Nadal (95) has more.
“Historically, you know, they count the most. So of course winning that many matches on each slam is a great achievement, and of course it makes me proud, makes me happy. I always aim to play my best tennis in Grand Slams. I think Federer, Nadal, the biggest players in the last 10, 15 years, aim to always play their best in slams. So, you know, playing a Grand Slam and best-of-five is the only tournament where we basically play best-of-five. Over the two weeks it takes a lot of energy and effort to invest into winning a Grand Slam. Obviously those records are great. I mean, they don’t, so to say, determine my day in terms of how I feel on the court, if I broke the record for most matches won on slam or not, but of course it’s nice to hear. It’s kind of a confirmation for me that, you know, I have been able to play my best tennis throughout my career on the biggest tournaments.
The Serbian who owns 17 majors is flying through Paris, dropping a mere 10 games in his first two matches.
“I hope I can continue like this,” said Djokovic who won the title in 2016. Djokovic is 33-1 this year. The lone loss coming from a disqualification at the US Open when he accidentally hit a lineswoman.
Former champion Jelena Ostapenko reached the third round by upsetting last year’s semifinalist No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-2. This is the furthest that the Latvian has advanced at the French Open since she won the title in 2017 for her only major crown.
“I think I was playing good today,” Ostapenko said. “I knew it was going to be tough match, so I was like trying to be very focused all match. Just, like, playing my game. Also just try to keep the ball in play to make sure I’m not missing and making too many unforced errors. But when I had the chance I was going for it. I mean, obviously I knew she’s a great player so it’s going to be a tough match, but I think I played well today.”
“I’m sure I could do much better,” Pliskova said after the match in her news conference. “I know that she can be tough if she’s playing well, but I think everything started with me. Definitely I was not playing great. I think maybe same level as the match before but of course she’s much better player. Not much to say about this match.”
The unseeded Ostapenko will play Paula Badosa who took out No. 29 seed and former finalist Sloane Stephens. It was Stephens’ earliest exit from Paris since 2011.
Australian Open winner and fourth seed Sofia Kenin had to come back from a set down to beat Ana Bogdan 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
“First set wasn’t, just didn’t go my way, Kenin said. “I couldn’t find my rhythm. She was playing really well. I knew I needed to somehow change my game or else I’m going to be out. Did not want that, definitely. So I just felt like I was putting more balls in the second and third set, playing more aggressive and playing the way I wanted to play. Yeah, I mean, she was playing really well and I knew I needed to just fight in order to win.”
More to follow….