Djokovic Beats Bedene, Fading Sunlight
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic streaked into the Round of 16 at Roland Garros, racing past Aljaz Bedene 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. Djokovic secured his 40th match win of the season, as he continues his quest to complete the career Grand Slam.
With darkness descending on Court Philippe-Chatrier, the top seed took care of business after just over two hours. He fired 39 winners in total, including five aces, to secure his 10th appearance in the fourth round on the terre battue. Djokovic was efficient at the net, claiming 11 of 15 points, while turning aside five of seven break points faced.
"I tried to come up with the right tactics and execution of the tactics, which I did," Djokovic said. "I played very well. There were a couple of long games where I didn't use my opportunities. But, I closed out two sets pretty well and started the third great. I had a couple opportunities for a double break and 2-0.
"Then I dropped my serve and the games were very long... We went deep into night. I think we played to the maximum extent of time we could, with the light. I'm just glad I managed to finish tonight."
After claiming the first two sets, the Serbian broke immediately to open the third and overcame a break back from Bedene in the fourth game, breaking twice more to close out the win over the No. 66 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Djokovic, who notched his 50th match win at the clay-court Grand Slam on Thursday with a victory over Steve Darcis, will look to reach the quarter-finals when he faces Roberto Bautista Agut.
"Obviously it's not easy to play Novak," said Bedene, who was appearing in his first Grand Slam third round. "I honestly felt like he wasn't giving anything. I had to play well to get games. He was returning well, so I was under constant pressure, which wasn't easy. But I was playing some decent ball. I could maybe get a few more games, but I was fighting well. I'm pleased with the performance."
Bautista Agut, who is seeking his first win in five FedEx ATP Head2Head clashes against Djokovic, fired past Next Generation star Borna Coric 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. The Spaniard, seeded 14th, needed two hours to emerge victorious, equalling his best Grand Slam result in advancing to the fourth round.
The 28 year old recorded three straight match wins on clay for the first time since his title run at the ATP World Tour 250 event in Stuttgart in 2014. He will be seeking revenge against Djokovic on Monday after suffering a 6-2, 6-1 defeat at the Masters 1000 event in Madrid earlier this month.