Set for Djokovic vs Nadal blockbuster?
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal move closer to a quarter-final face-off after cruising into last 16
Paris: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal moved to within one win of a French Open quarter-final blockbuster on Saturday as the sport’s next generation endured a Grand Slam reality check.
Novak Djokovic returns to Thanasi Kokkinakis during the French Open on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
World number one and top seed Djokovic reached the last-16 for the sixth straight year with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over 19-year-old Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Nadal in top form
Defending champion Nadal, chasing a 10th title in Paris, brushed aside Russian world number 120 Andrey Kuznetsov, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. Third-seeded Andy Murray, twice a semi-finalist, was also untroubled as he cruised to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Kokkinakis’ 20-year-old compatriot Nick Kyrgios.
It was a chastening day for the sport’s youngsters at Roland Garros with Kokkinakis and Kyrgios joined at the exit door by 18-year-old Croatian Borna Coric, defeated by Amercia’s Jack Sock, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Djokovic, bidding for a first Roland Garros title to complete a career Grand Slam, will face French 20th seed Richard Gasquet for a quarter-final place.
Gasquet, one of five Frenchman to make the last-16, saw off 15th seed Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, 6-4 despite the South African hitting 22 aces and 62 winners.
Djoko full of praise
Djokovic fired 34 winners and didn’t face a single break point in his one-hour, 49-minute win over highly-rated wildcard Kokkinakis. “Thanasi has a lot of talent and strength. He is still a teenager and he has plenty of time to do great things,” said Djokovic after winning his 25th successive match this season.
Nine-time champion Nadal reached the fourth round courtesy of eight breaks of the Kuznetsov serve. Nadal will tackle unseeded Sock who, at 22, became the youngest American man to make the last-16 since Pete Sampras in 1993. “I am playing more solid and am more consistent with each match," said sixth-seeded Nadal, who took his Paris record to 69 wins against just one loss.
>> Novak Djokovic vs Richard Gasquet
>> Jack Sock vs Rafael Nadal
>> Andy Murray vs Jeremy Chardy
>> Marin Cilic vs David Ferrer
>> Kei Nishikori vs Teymuraz Gabashvili
>> Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Tomas Berdych
>> Stan Wawrinka vs Gilles Simon
>> Gael Monfils vs Roger Federer