Novak Djokovic bats past Fernando Verdasco to reach quarter-finals


Novak Djokovic easily cruised with a straight-set victory over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open.

Djokovic, 31, won 6-3 6-4 6-2 against 34-year-old Verdasco.

Seeded 20, the Serb has reached the last eight at Roland Garros for a 12th time – an Open era record.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion will play Marco Cecchinato in the last eight after the Italian upset Belgian eighth seed David Goffin.

Djokovic, who won his only Roland Garros title in 2016 to complete a career Grand Slam, was not considered among the pre-tournament favourites following an injury-hit year.

“Considering all the circumstances in the last 15 months it is quite an achievement to get to the quarters of a Slam,” said Djokovic, who has also reached the Roland Garros last eight for a ninth successive year.

“I always play well at a Slam and always build my form to peak at a Slam.

“Hopefully it will get even better. I don’t want to stop here.

Greater tests than Verdasco, who had beaten Djokovic in three of their previous four meetings on clay but not since 2010, will lie ahead.

If Djokovic beats Cecchinato he will meet either German second seed Alexander Zverev or Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem – who have won more Tour matches in 2018 than any other player – in the last four.

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